The Corner

Honest About Abe

More usefulness from the Committee for Justice:

CFJ Truth Squad

“Liberal Filibuster Arguments Don’t Hold Water,” says Gray.

Volume 2

WASHINGTON, DC – As the Senate undertook its historic all-hours debate of the minority’s unprecedented use of the filibuster to deny the President’s nominees final votes, the Committee for Justice responded to senators’ initial arguments, made at a pre-debate press conference.

CLAIM:

Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD):

“Sixty-three Clinton nominees were filibustered in Committee.”

RESPONSE:

This is an abuse of language. When a nominee is blocked in committee, at any time a majority on the floor can demand discharge of that nominee. Therefore, no nominee who has majority floor support can be killed in committee, only those who do not have majority support. In contrast, the current Democratic filibusters are used by the minority to permanently deny the majority will.

The big picture is perfectly clear: The Republicans were as fair to President Clinton as they were to President Reagan. They confirmed 377 Clinton nominees – only five fewer than the 382 confirmed for Reagan. And Reagan had 6 years of his own party in the Senate, while Clinton had only two.

Here is what happened to the 56 Clinton nominees that did not get confirmed those 8 years. Three were left at the end of the 103rd Congress, when the Democrats were in control, so those 3 cannot count against the Republicans. That leaves 53. Nine were nominated too late in a Congress for the Committee to feasibly act on them or were lacking paperwork. That leaves 44. Seventeen of those lacked home-state support, which often resulted from the Clinton White House’s failure to consult home-state senators. There was no way to confirm those nominations without completely ignoring the senatorial courtesy generally afforded to home state-senators in the nominations process. That leaves 27. One nominee was defeated on the Senate floor, which leaves 26 remaining nominees. Of those, a number had issues in their backgrounds that made them impeachable. Out of decent regard for their personal and professional reputations, those reasons were never disclosed publicly, though it is worth noting that, in a number of cases, the White House privately agreed with the decision not to move forward on them.

Bottom line: in all 6 years that Chairman Hatch chaired the Judiciary Committee while President Clinton was in office, there were fewer than 26 nominations left in Committee.

Compare this treatment to that accorded George H.W. Bush’s nominees, when Democrats were in the majority and controlled the Judiciary Committee. Then, the Democrats failed to confirm 58 nominees over the course of only 4 years.

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