Should the Senate Continue to Filibuster... stopping Up or Down Votes on Judicial Appointments ? Just ask Dr James Dobson.

By
Real Estate Agent with New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County

There are currently 84 federal judgeships that are vacant - about one out of ten - and the courts have been struggling to handle their caseloads.

Senator Harry Reid, Majority Leader of the Senate... wants the entire Senate to simply vote on these appointments.  Yes or no ?  Up or Down ?  Just vote !

Senate Republicans have been stalling... holding up simple Up or Down votes on these nominations.  They have been using the Filibuster... which is a legal tool for them to use... but in doing so... they are causing a major log-jam in the Federal Courts.

So... what to do ?

OK... I am a "Progressive."  Yeah... ok, I am a Liberal.  But let's not even take my opinion, or the opinion of ANY Progressive or Democrat.

How about if we take the opinion of a conservative who is very well respected by Republicans.  He is James Dobson... long-time former Head of, and Founder of the Family Research Council.

Dr Dobson, revered by the great majority of Conservative Christians... said that "judicial filibusters are a direct attack on the future of democracy and ordered liberty."  If it sounds like he was saying that the Senate's use of the filibuster to hold up Up of Down votes on judicial nominations really ticked him off... well, it did.

Or... we could ask Pat Robertson... of the 700 Club... who is an far-right conservative.

Perhaps we could ask Rod Parsley, TV Televangelist ?  Or Tony Perkins, or Gary Bauer, or Lou Sheldon or Frank Pavone ?

OK... let's ask ALL of them.  Just to see what they have to say.  Here's a video showing the opinions on using the filibuster to hold up Up or Down votes of federal judges...

These religious leaders made these claims when George W. Bush was president.  But, of course, that doesn't matter because - in the words of Senator John Cornyn, Republican Senator from Texas... he said... "we need to treat all nominees exactly the same, regardless of whether they're nominated by a Democrat or a Republican president.

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Comments (20)

Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

Congress is a pretty contentious place these days.  Insults and arrogance seem to prevail.

Mar 05, 2012 06:58 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Obviously, this is a very political post.  And, as is the case on any of the "political posts" I write... ALL viewpoints are welcome.

Also, as is typical on my posts... those who comment are welcome to go back and forth with those others who comment... with whom they disagree.

If you have an opinion... let's have it be part of an ongoing dialogue.

Mar 05, 2012 07:03 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Jeff at Connecticut:  I really enjoyed your comment on the use of the Senate Filibuster.  Thanks so much for adding to the discussion.

Mar 05, 2012 07:04 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Filibusters in this case are dumb Karen Anne. Legislators need to do the business of the country and quit stalling. It's amazing I think with these DO NOTHING attitudes they get anything done.

Mar 05, 2012 09:43 AM
Dale Terry
Yadkinville, NC

Don't let facts get in your way karen Anne:

The Democrats had been using the filibuster to prevent the confirmation of conservative appellate court candidates nominated by President George W. Bush. In the Republican-controlled 108th Congress, ten Bush judicial nominees had been filibustered by the minority Democrats. The ten Bush appellate nominees who were filibustered were Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, Charles W. Pickering, Carolyn Kuhl, David W. McKeague, Henry Saad, Richard Allen Griffin, William H. Pryor, William Gerry Myers III and Janice Rogers Brown.

Gang of 14:

The immediate and proximate political result of the agreement was the curtailing of Democratic filibusters and the short-term end to the "nuclear option" debate. Three judicial nominees not explicitly mentioned in the original Gang deal were confirmed under its provisions: David W. McKeague, Richard Allen Griffin and Thomas B. Griffith.

Sen. Orrin Hatch at the time characterized the deal as "a truce, not a ceasefire", and the potential for a resumption of hostilities was obvious to everyone. The compromise purported to rule out Democratic filibusters in "all but extraordinary circumstances", yet the day after the compromise was announced, Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid provocatively announced in a speech on the Senate floor that in his view, the Democrats were already using the filibuster in only "extraordinary circumstances". Equally, a provocative attempt by Sen. Carl Levin to shut the door on the nuclear option by obtaining a ruling from the chair – at that moment, Senator John E. Sununu – that the filibuster had been yielded as constitutional by the compromise, failed; the Republican leadership, thus, retained the nuclear option. Consequently, moderates on both sides were able to claim victory, and partisans on both sides were able to avoid defeat.

Mar 05, 2012 09:51 AM
Cal Yoder
Keller Williams Elite - Lititz, PA
Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744

Interesting read. I find the problem to be power. I am a Christian, but one who will listen to many diverse opinions and respectfully dialogue. My theology calls me to seek to empty myself of power by doing the right thing. By looking out for the needs of other in the same way I look out for my needs. Both Republicans and Democrats need to heed the advice when they are unable to proceed with what is right. It is time to come together, stop pointing fingers at others and do what is in the best interest of the country. Stopping the filibuster is in the best interest of the country. Why are reasonable people in congress unable to simply do it. Should have been done back when the Democrats were doing and it is equally true.

Thanks for another provocative post.

Cal

Mar 05, 2012 11:18 AM
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Karen Anne, interesting to hear all these right leaning men speak in civil tones to start with and to suggest that Congress get on with the work at hand.  I've never totally understood the purpose of fillibusters anyway...I might if during that time they continued debate or discussion of the topic at hand but when the time is spent reading cookbooks or discussing television shows it seems ridiculous.

Mar 05, 2012 12:47 PM
CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS
California Coastal Estates - Aliso Viejo, CA
"Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren

No more stalling is in order! We must speak loudly! NO MORE STALLING!

Mar 05, 2012 03:31 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

What has become of the Republican party?

Ask Olympia Snow? Ask George Will? Or maybe we should ask the drug abusing party boss and GOP leader Rush (4 wives -NO kids-never used birth control) Limbaugh.

NY once had a conservative Republican Senator named Alfonse D'Amato who was the Filibuster King. He once spent 23 hours on the Senate floor making a fool of himself. What ever happened to him? New Yorkers  fired him and replaced him with Democrat Charles Schumer.

Today former Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, ironically opposes filibusters - at least for nominations to the federal bench.

Getting fired by voters is a humbling experience,-)

 

Mar 05, 2012 09:39 PM
Karen Hawkins, MBA - Langley & Surrey, BC
Royal Pro Real Estate Network - Langley, BC

Although filibusters are a time-honored tradition, it seems as though recently they have been used to abuse the patience of the American public (an outsider's opinion)...I get the sense the voting populace doesn't see this as getting work done!

Mar 06, 2012 03:33 AM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Instead of asking all these people who haven't been elected to any office... wouldn't it be nice if those we did elect would just vote and live by it.

Mar 07, 2012 10:40 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Silvia:  That... the problem... and that is also why I wrote this post... to focus on that very point.

Here is more of an explanation.  back in the mid-2000's... as Dale Terry of Home Realty Group in comment #5 said... the opposite of what is happening now... was going on.  Bush was President, and the Republicans also "controlled" the Senate... which meant they had more than fifty Senators out of the 100 Senators in the Senate.

So... it might look like Bush and the Republicans could do whatever they wanted.  That is where the filibuster comes in.  One might re-name the filibuster with the phrase "full of bluster."  What it means is that when one side is outnumbered... that is, it has 49 or fewer Senators... if they voted on the bill... whatever it was... they would lose.  All the bill needs is 51 votes out of 100 to pass.

Well... the minority party could also stall taking the vote... by demanding that there be further debate.  And only when the debate is over... THEN they would vote.  But... the minority party could choose to "debate" for the rest of the year... just keep on talking... if they wanted to.  And, when they have done this... it usually is not even a debate... but just an endless line of minority Senators standing at the podium, and talking.

The Senate could vote on stopping the filibuster... but instead of needing 51 votes, they need to get SIXTY votes to stop the debate.  Doing that... is called voting for "Cloture."  That would stop the debate, and the vote on the bill, or in this case, on the judges... would have to be taken.

In the case mentioned in comment #5... Bush nominated something like seventy judges.  The majority of them were voted on... but there were TEN... the ones mentioned in #5... that the Democrats felt were much too extremely Conservative, so they chose to block those TEN out of the entire group nominated... by using the filibuster technique.

So... Bush got the great majority approved, but had TEN blocked.  Pretty good average.

Currently, President Obama has put forth a group of 84 to be voted on.  The great majority of them have been unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee... which is made up by both Republicans and Democrats.  Unanimously approved. 

But... would the Republicans pick the most liberal ones... and hold THEM up, and allow a vote on the more MODERATE judges nominated ?  That sounds logical.

Noper.  The Republicans are using the filibuster to block EVERY SINGLE JUDGE from being voted on.  Every one.

For the current group of Republicans... there is no longer any such thing as a "compromise."  They have vowed to do everything possible to make Obama look inept... and not allowing a vote on ANY of these 84 judges just makes a mockery out of the judicial system.

Sorry for being long-winded.  I am somewhat of a political and news junkie.  Although I do not know as much as some on Active Rain... like Ted Baker, for instance... I know enough to make a case and explain some things.  Thanks for your patience in reading this.

Mar 07, 2012 11:37 AM
Hugh Krone
Weichert Referral Associates - Hamburg, NJ
Realtor, Sussex County NJ

March 8, 2012 12:46 PM I agree Karen Anne

Mar 08, 2012 01:47 AM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Karen Anne, thank you for your explanation, I didn't expect this much detail and appreciate it. 

Mar 08, 2012 11:32 AM
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Karen Anne - It cheers me to read your post and your opinions on subjects like this one.

The judiciary system is a mess, from the top down. Clarence Thomas won't recuse himself on matters where he has a clear conflict of interest and the rest of the Bush (daddy & son) appointees are equally clueless.  What the radical right hasn't figured out yet is "what comes around, goes around".

Mar 09, 2012 04:09 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Hugh:  Thank you.  Silvia:  You are very welcome.  It's the former teacher in me.

Eric:  I do what I can with my meager talents.  <dorky smile>  Yes... the current judiciary system IS a mess.  Right now, because of a small group of anal-retentive Republicans who continue to threaten the rest of their Republican legislators in office with them... to keep them all in lock-step.  So... nothing gets done.

Clarence Thomas.  Recuse himself ?  Are you kidding.  That would take ethics, and he was absent for much of that day.  Clarence Thomas should NEVER have been approved as a Supreme Court Justice in the first place... but you know what they say about hindsight.

Compromise is a dead word.  When Bush was in office, the Democrats compromised on many things.  They, of course, did that... assuming that when the situation would be reversed... that they could expect reasonable compromises from the Republicans.  Dumb move on their part.  Boehner, McConnell, Coburn, Cantor, Ryan Paul, Bachmann and the rest will not move a muscle.

Unfortunately, I cannot believe what you say, and hope for... in "what goes around, comes around."  The Republicans have the "brass ones" to do whatever they want.  The Democrats do not.  They blink.

Mar 09, 2012 09:43 AM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Karen-Anne,

I googled cloture votes - its amazing how bad it is.  The key to understanding the trend is to note who is sittingin the White House.  Cloture votes go up dramatically when a democrat is sittig in the Oval office.  People have to remember that this has nothing to do with with who the majority party in the Senate is, it has to do with who is in the White House.  Filibusters are a tool of the party that is OUT OF POWER. 

Mar 10, 2012 03:47 AM
Rich Quigley
Chicago, IL

Karen Anne, this is probably the first time I have agreed with James Dobson, but he's right, we can't let these judicial positions remain vacant. Congress is out to thwart everything Obama tries to do. Hopefully people will recognize that fact when they vote in November.

Mar 17, 2012 01:28 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Rich:  I cannot remember EVER agreeing with James Dobson before, either.  That is part of the irony of this post.  The other half of the IRONY is that this video was made during the Bush administration... when all the Conservatives... the folks in the video, and all of the Republicans in Congress were so AGAINST the idea that Democrats would even consider using the filibuster to block confirmation of a judicial appointment.

Now... they ALL want to use it against those same judicial appointments.  Disingenuous Boneheads !

Mar 17, 2012 08:59 AM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

I love this!  And, you got some great comments, as always.  You really know how to stir a pot, girl!

Apr 28, 2012 06:38 AM