Communications Department

Who opposes filibuster reform?

May 4, 2005 | Judicial

As of May 4, 2005, all of the 45 members of the Senate Democratic caucus were opposing the effort of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tn.) to abolish filibusters on judicial nominees

If more than five Republican senators vote with the Democrats, it will not be possible to establish the precedent that filibusters are not allowed on judicial nominations.

As of May 4, three Republican senators had come out clearly against the reform: Lincoln Chafee (RI), Olympia Snowe (Me.), and John McCain (Az.).

McCain, who some political observers expect to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 as he did in 2000, announced in April that he will oppose the reform.

On the MSNBC program Hardball on April 11, host Chris Matthews asked McCain, “You’ll vote with the Democrats?” McCain replied, “Yes . . .”

Likewise, in an encounter on April 27 with participants in a pro-life Capitol Hill lobby day called REAL Women’s Voices, “McCain argued that he wanted to preserve the right to filibuster future judicial nominees appointed by future Democratic presidents,” according to Samantha Cheatham, congressional outreach director for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization.

Fr. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, told NRL News, “It is unfortunate that Senator McCain has joined those senators who are trying to prevent godly men and women, nominated by their President and supported by a majority of senators, from serving on our nation’s courts. There is not going to be a church in America that is not going to know exactly who those senators are.”

NRLC’s Douglas Johnson commented, “McCain engages in a ludicrous pretext when he suggests that he wants to preserve the right to filibuster a liberal Supreme Court nominee. The idea that Senator McCain would offend the liberal newspaper editorial boards and the other media-entertainment elites whose approval he so assiduously cultivates, on an issue of that sort, is implausible in the extreme.”

Press reports have indicated that a number of other Republicans are undecided, including Senators Chuck Hagel (Ne.), Mike DeWine (Ohio), John Warner (Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Ak.), and Arlen Specter (Pa.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Categories: Judicial