Statement by Senator Jack Reed on the Attempt to Change the Filibuster Rule in the Senate
Under the rules of the United States Senate, every Senator, from large and small states, has the right to delay a vote on a piece of legislation or a nomination by engaging in unlimited debate, also known as a filibuster, which can only be ended by a vote of 60 members of the Senate.Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has threatened to force approval of a parliamentary procedure to end the right to unlimited debate for judicial nominations in order to secure approval for a handful of judges who are opposed by Democrats. Of 218 of President Bushs judicial nominations, the Senate has confirmed 208. Only 10 judges have been rejected because they hold views that most Americans would find extreme. Under the change in the filibuster rule proposed by Frist, judicial nomination filibusters would be stopped by a simple majority of the Senate -- 51 votes.Reed addressed the United States Senate on the filibuster rule change on Thursday, April 28, 2005. Read the speech: http://reed.senate.gov/filibusterRead about the history of the filibuster: http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Filibuster_Cloture.htm
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) stated, I strongly oppose the efforts to change the rules for filibustering judicial nominations. There are so many issues of great concern to the American people and important to the future of our country, yet the Republican leadership wants to focus the Senates time on changing the rules in the Senate so they can win approval of radical judges.The Senate must maintain a very high threshold for the approval of a lifetime appointment of a judge.There are many ways President Bush and the Republicans in the Senate could work with Democrats to make the judicial nomination process work more smoothly. But in light of the rejection of the Democratic leader's proposal and the subsequent proposal made by the Republican leader, it is clear this debate is not really about making the process work better. This whole debate should be seen for what it is--a grab for power by the Republican majority.It was the desire of the Founding Fathers to protect the rights of the minority from the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. The effort to change the filibuster rules tramples on that protection.