Target: Senate Members and Leadership
Goal: Reform the filibuster to end the continuous blocking of court nominees and appointments
Playing into the continuing narrative of Republican obstructionism of everything Obama, the minority party in the Senate has threatened to block the president’s nominations for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Last week, Obama nominated three individuals to the D.C. Circuit Court while asking Senate members to act quickly on confirmation. Ironically, this call for increased government efficiency led to immediate Republican outcry and threats of blocking the nominees by Senate filibuster.
Obama has dealt with obstructionism toward judicial appointments in his first term. The use of the filibuster, a point of parliamentary procedure used only in the Senate, has successfully blocked qualified nominees for political purpose. Democrats have suggested Senate rules be adjusted in light of the failure of popular legislation, such as universal background checks, to attain the 60 vote super-majority necessary to beat a filibuster. This filibuster creates a chilling effect on government procedure and a subsequent assault on productivity, something the Obama administration cannot seem to escape.
Republicans insist their threats to block these nominees are justified because Obama wants to “pack the court” with liberal judges. These allegations are absurd—the President is filling vacant seats, not attempting to change the number of seats on the court in order to dilute the majority (the D.C. Circuit Court is slanted toward Republicans.) It is the president’s duty to nominate candidates for those seats and the Senates duty to give candidates a fair evaluation. Senate rules must be seriously reevaluated to end the abuse of the filibuster so court appointments can proceed. Harry Reid’s halfhearted threat to pursue this issue will not be sufficient against the Tea-Party led, united Republican front against progress.
Dear Senate Democratic Majority Leaders and Members,
Not only have Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block majority supported legislation such as universal background checks and job- creating initiatives, but they continue to threaten to block critical judicial nominations to vacancies in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. There is much capacity for the government to facilitate policies which benefit Americans by strengthening economic conditions, increasing public safety and pursuing equal rights. However, the filibuster prevents key legislation from enactment despite obtaining the simple majority required by the Constitution.
Current backlash against the president’s nominees are unjustified and only succeed in delaying the appointment of qualified individuals. Gridlock in this capacity exacerbates the public’s disapproval regarding the function and capacity of government, which is devastating to democracy. In its current state, the filibuster creates such an obstacle to an efficient government that it should be the number one priority of Democrats in the Senate to reform. Therefore, we demand that filibuster reform be seriously pursued in order for the government to begin working again. By not addressing this issue, you invite Senate Republicans to return to obstructionism, making passing even the most innocuous legislation an up-hill battle.
[Your Name Here]