Project 21 Press Release: Black Activists Criticize Congressional Black Caucus Rush to Judgment on Alito Nomination and Call for Filibuster; Filibuster of Supreme Court Nominees Thought to Be Unconstitutional

Members of the black leadership network Project 21 are criticizing the decision of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to formally oppose and call for a filibuster of the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court in advance of Senate hearings.

Confirmation hearings on Judge Alito are scheduled to begin on January 9, but CBC members – including Senator Barack Obama, who will actually cast a vote on the nomination – voted unanimously to oppose the Alito nomination over a month in advance of those hearings.

“The Congressional Black Caucus’s rush to condemn Judge Alito in advance of the hearings is an unambiguously proof-positive indication of their contempt for the spirit of our constitutional order,” said Project 21 member Mychal Massie.  “It also clearly shows who their masters are.  The CBC has clearly aligned itself with the extreme liberals who share their contempt for those who would uphold the Constitution as it was envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

Besides calling Judge Alito “a special danger to people of color and to women,” CBC Judicial Nominations chairman Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) also said the Caucus’s opposition was based on the nominee’s “long and consistent record as a judicial dissenter” (particularly on the cases that restrict congressional power), his “automatically hard-right views” and that Judge Alito has not yet met with the CBC.

In announcing the CBC’s opposition to Judge Alito, Caucus chairman Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) said the nomination poses “extraordinary circumstances” in which an expected vote to confirm Alito should be delayed indefinitely by filibuster.  He said CBC members intend to meet with senators in the “Gang of 14,” which formed to avoid filibuster fights, to try to persuade them to engage in a filibuster. 

Pointing out that the CBC’s opposition violates the Caucus’s own goals, Project 21 member Deneen Moore said: “It’s unfortunate that the Congressional Black Caucus has prematurely decided to oppose Judge Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination.  Their announcement is at odds with the spirit of their stated priority – as posted on their website – to support the appointment of ‘fair and impartial judges.’  It’s apparent that the liberal cluster of nonsupport is clearly taking precedence prior to the course of a fair confirmation hearing.”

Project 21 takes no position on the confirmation of any particular judicial nominee, but many of its members believe that the Constitution requires only a majority vote to “advise and consent” on Supreme Court nominations, making a filibuster of such nominations unconstitutional.

For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at New Visions Commentaries can be found at

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