EXECUTIVE SESSION -- (Senate - September 28, 2005)
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Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, one of the things that was surprising to my constituents in Arkansas is that I would actually come to Washington, DC, and join a gang. They sometimes wonder what we do up here and why we do it. I am very proud to be part of this gang, with my 13 colleagues who stood tall and exercised some of the best traditions and best judgment that Senators can. One of the lessons we learned through the Gang of 14 process and trying to take the nuclear option off the table--and also trying to get some up-or-down votes on some more nominees--is that good things happen when Senators talk to each other.
I have learned since I have been in Washington that we spend a lot of time talking about each other and not enough time talking to each other. I hope this serves as an object lesson. It shows we can work together in this political environment. The truth is, we talk about how bad things are, and sometimes they do get bad. But basically, we are all sent here by our States. Each State gets two Senators. Even the two Senators from the same State don't always agree. We don't have to agree. But certainly all 100 of us should, as the Book of Isaiah says, reason together. We should come together and put the country first and put others' interests ahead of our own. We should try to continue to work together and build on not just a bipartisan approach but in many ways a nonpartisan approach where we look at the challenges facing our country and try to approach those as best we possibly can.
I know a lot of people around the country and in this Chamber and this city are focused on the next nomination. We haven't even had a vote on John Roberts. Nonetheless, a lot of people are concerned about the next nomination. I understand that. In some ways, and rightfully so, we should be focused on that. My colleagues have touched on it already. But part of the language Senator Warner and Senator Byrd crafted during this agreement--we all helped in different ways on this language and had our thoughts incorporated in the language, but Senator Byrd and Senator Warner took the lead on the language--is the advice and consent portion of the agreement. Basically all we do is encourage the President to take the Constitution literally. When the Constitution says that it shall be with the advice and consent of the Senate, we take that literally. We hope the President will seek our advice.
Supposedly either the President or the White House reached out to about 70 of us when we received the John Roberts nomination. That works, and that is very positive. I hope we see that again.
Some of my constituents in Arkansas have asked me: Don't you have some anxiety about John Roberts? Gosh, he used to work for the Reagan administration. There are things in his background that various people don't agree with.
My response is: Certainly, I have anxiety about John Roberts. I have anxiety about any nominee that any President will nominate to the Supreme Court. It is a lifetime appointment. There is no question about the influence and the impact that one Supreme Court Justice can have on the American system of justice and on American society. I have anxiety about anybody. I certainly have some about John Roberts. But nonetheless, he has the right stuff to be on the Court.
I am proud of the courage my colleagues showed in the time when it mattered and we came together and worked it out, the Gang of 14.
I yield the floor.