For Release: May 3, 2005
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11
Black Network Hails Frist Judicial Compromise
A proposal offered by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to preserve robust debate over judicial nominees is being praised by members of the Project 21 black leadership network.
Over the past two years, procedural delays have prevented judicial nominees from receiving votes in the full Senate. Two nominees, Patricia Owen and Terrence Boyle, still await a vote 1,453 days after they were first nominated. Holds and filibusters have helped prolong the nomination of three nominees to the understaffed 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for 1,271 days.
Frist proposed a plan to expedite nominations through the Senate Judiciary Committee and allow 100 hours of debate before a floor vote is taken. The policy would apply to appellate court and Supreme Court nominees, and would not affect legislative filibusters.
"Resolving the judicial obstruction debate, for me, isn't about politics," said Frist in a speech on the floor of the Senate on April 28. "This is about constitutional principles. It's about fairness to nominees. It's about senators doing their duty and doing what's right for our country."
Project 21 member Mychal Massie concurs: "Every judicial nominee voted out of committee has the right to a straight up-or-down vote after a reasonable period of debate. The liberals currently in the minority in the Senate have had years to make their case on these nominees. It is apparent that they do not seek cogent, reasoned debate after all this time. Rather, their obstruction is extreme histrionics, blackmail, litmus tests and partisan misbehavior. There remains no legitimate reason to prolong what is simply an injustice."
Project 21 takes no position on the confirmation of any particular judicial nominee, but believes that it is in the best interest of the United States that judicial vacancies be filled with appropriate speed.
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
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