For Immediate Release
March 5, 2003
Press Briefing Excerpt by Ari Fleischer 10/30/02
Click here for full transcript.
Q Ari, on the judicial nomination proposal, can you explain what this is? Is it a legislative proposal? Is it just a voluntary arrangement? Should the Senate change its rules? What are you asking for?
MR. FLEISCHER: It would be desirable if the Senate changes its rules. That would be the strongest way to get this implemented. It cannot be legislation because the Senate procedures are not subject to legislation of that type, as effectively as a rule. It does not need to be legislation. So it's a proposal by the President and it's something that he views as a clean start. The existing system is breaking down and the courts are full of vacancies as a result. And so the President has been conjoling the Senate to take action; the President has been urging them to do so. Yet they have not. So this is the President's way of saying, regardless of what party controls the Senate, this is a better procedure so that the American people can have justice served.
Q Well, why is he asking the Senate to basically hold hands with him on a controversial issue a week before the election? Wouldn't it have been a more productive route to take to do this a couple weeks after the election, after everything has cooled off?
MR. FLEISCHER: Because the President thinks this is the best process, and if it's the best process it doesn't matter who runs the Senate. It should apply to both parties equally. And by doing it this week, I think it makes it even a clearer and stronger case that what's happening in the Senate is a problem for all parties. And that's why the President has called on -- made this proposal now, and made clear that it doesn't matter who wins control of the Senate; whether it remains Democratic or it changes to Republican, this is a path and a plan that the President believes in and he hopes the Senate will follow it.