Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Today's Action Alert

Today's Action comes from NRDC:

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.