I’m a bit late with today’s action alert. Apologies, I had some appointments. Here it is:
Tell your senators not to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominees
Whenever a single political party controls both the White House and Congress — as the Republicans do now — the Senate “filibuster” (a nickname for indefinitely extended debate) ensures that the dominant party cannot exert undue control over the remaining branch of the federal government: the judiciary. But Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) is threatening to overturn the longstanding Senate rule that enables 41 or more senators to use the filibuster to prevent the confirmation of nominees to lifetime seats on the federal courts.
The filibuster guarantees that a judicial nominee cannot win confirmation over vehement minority opposition unless the nominee is supported by 60 or more senators. This check on majority power is particularly important in the context of judicial nominees, who receive lifetime tenure when confirmed.
Sen. Frist’s attempt to eliminate the filibuster in the context of judicial nominees is particularly unjustified, for two reasons. First, the Senate has confirmed 205 of President Bush’s 215 judicial nominees. Second, the seven filibustered candidates subsequently renominated by President Bush have shown that they would not decide cases impartially, but rather would use the federal bench as a platform for advancing a political ideology that falls far outside the mainstream.
NRDC opposes four of the renominated candidates on account of their extreme anti-environment views and antipathy toward conservation and public health groups. If the filibuster is eliminated, those nominees and others like them would receive lifetime tenure on the courts that are responsible for enforcing the laws that protect public health and the environment.
In addition, eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominations would create a precedent that the current majority or a future one could use to eliminate the filibuster for legislation as well. At that point, the Senate would cease to play its unique, moderating role in our democracy.
== What to do ==
Tell your senators to vote “No” on any measure that would prohibit filibusters of judicial nominees.
== Contact information ==
You can email or fax your representative directly from NRDC’s Earth Action Center at http://www.nrdc.org/action/. If you prefer to call your representative, the Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121.