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 Home > News & Policies > October 2001

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2001

Press Briefing Excerpts by Ari Fleischer 10/24/01

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Q Ari, in an era of bipartisanship after the war, when it comes to judicial nominations, Senator Daschle basically told the President yesterday that it was his way or the highway. When is there some sort of compromise going to come? Does the President expect in the next couple of months, maybe after the appropriations bills are passed, that there will be some meeting of the minds here about going forward? And what sort of message does this send in case there, for example, was a Supreme Court vacancy at this time?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the Senate did, yesterday, pass four judges and I believe they also passed -- I believe it was 14, perhaps 18 U.S. Attorneys.

Having said that, the traditions of the Senate, going back many a year, are that in particularly a President's first year in office, almost everybody that the President has nominated up to the August recess has been confirmed. And that is a long-standing tradition. And given the fact that there are -- numerous judicial emergencies have been declared, that there is a shortage of judges on the benches, given the importance of winning the war on terrorism and avoiding bottlenecks in the courts as federal cases are brought, the President does think it is terribly important for the Senate to take action on the judges before they adjourn.

Q And how about the nomination of John Walters to be drug czar? That was made a long time ago and he's still waiting.

MR. FLEISCHER: That, too, is a priority for the President. He is hopeful that the Senate will take action on John Walters as the drug czar. Afghanistan happens to be one of the largest producers of drugs in the world, and the President thinks it would be very productive to have the drug czar put in place.