STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER
Debate on fair up or down votes for judicial nominees began on Wednesday, May 18, 2005, with the nomination of Priscilla Owen to serve as a judge on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and discussion of the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to serve as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. By the close of business on Friday, May 20, 2005, the Senate will have conducted approximately 25 hours of debate on fair up or down votes.
Today cloture will be filed on the nomination of Priscilla Owen to serve as a judge on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The roll call vote on the cloture petition will occur on Tuesday, May 24, 2005.
As previously announced, on Monday, May 23, 2005, the Senate will conduct a roll call vote at 5:30pm on a motion to instruct the Senate Sergeant at Arms to request the attendance of absent Senators. As of Friday, May 20, 2005, further procedural roll call votes during Monday, May 23 are possible. In addition, it is possible the Senate will conduct further procedural roll call votes on Tuesday, May 24.
If the Senate invokes cloture on the nomination, the Senate will be required under its rules to give the Owen nomination a fair up or down vote. In the event the Senate fails to invoke cloture on the Owen nomination and no reasonable arrangement for fair up or down votes is agreed to, the Majority Leader will begin the constitutional option by making a point of order to the Presiding Officer regarding the appropriate amount of time to be used by the Senate to debate Circuit and Supreme Court nominations.
To ensure that all 100 Senators have the opportunity to decide on the precedent, the Majority Leader remains hopeful that parliamentary tactics will not be employed to prevent all 100 Senators from deciding the question. If the motion to table is successful and completed, the precedent regarding judicial nominations will then take effect.