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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 22, 2004
President's Statement on Senate Filibustering of Judicial Nominees
Today, a minority of Senators employed filibuster tactics to bar confirmation votes on three excellent judicial nominees from Michigan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit -- Judge Richard Griffin, Judge David McKeague, and Judge Henry Saad. Each of these nominees is eminently qualified, has the support of a majority of Senators, and would be confirmed if given an up-or-down vote.
These filibuster tactics are shameful and inconsistent with the Senate's constitutional obligation. All three of these fine men are distinguished jurists. Together they have more than three decades of experience on the Michigan state and federal courts. All three have been rated either well-qualified or qualified by the American Bar Association. The vacancies these judges have been nominated to fill have been designated judicial emergencies by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Yet all three nominees have been waiting more than two years for an up-or-down vote in the Senate. By blocking votes on these nominations, a minority of Senators is continuing a crisis that has delayed the administration of justice in the Sixth Circuit.
Prior to this Congress, the filibuster had never been used to block the confirmation of a judicial nominee. But in recent months, the use of this obstructionist tactic by some Democrats has become commonplace. With today's action, ten appeals court nominees have now been filibustered.
The Senate minority's unfair treatment of these nominees demonstrates the breakdown in the judicial confirmation process. More than 18 months ago, I proposed a plan that would ensure that judicial nominees receive timely hearings and up-or-down votes no matter who is President or which party controls the Senate. I again urge the Senate -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- to put an end to the partisan politics of the past and ensure judicial nominees are given the timely up-or-down votes they deserve. The Senate owes it to these fine men and women, and to the American people.
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