The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
February 14, 2003

Press Briefing Excerpt by Ari Fleischer 02/14/03

Click here for full transcript. Q The second question -- again, going back to the fight between Democrats and Republicans over the Miguel Estrada nomination. It seems to be an absolute deadlock. Democrats seem to have the vote, but keep filibustering. Republicans don't have the votes for cloture. But they do have the votes in after it gets to the floor. Is this going to be an unending or is the President going to --

MR. FLEISCHER: Clearly, the President hopes not. I think it would be a very sad day for the Senate if this tactic of filibustering became the tactic of how circuit court nominees are considered, particularly given the fact that Senator Leahy, himself, more than three years ago said, it is wrong and should not be done to filibuster a circuit court nominee. And now he, himself, is one of the leaders of a filibuster, despite the very fact that he, himself, said this is not the way judicial candidates should be treated. That's what he said.

So the President hopes that reason will prevail, that after the initial flurry, people will recognize the great danger they may do to the judiciary by adopting this radical tactic. And it has never been successfully done. And there is a judicial emergency that continues to exist. There are not sufficient judges in place in the court systems. People are waiting too long for justice to be done. The filibuster only makes people wait longer.

Q But the President wouldn't budge on this issue, he will stand firm on it?

MR. FLEISCHER: Absolutely.

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