Allen Signs Fair Judiciary Oath; Pledges Up or Down Vote on Judges
Senator Notes Importance of Judges Who Understand Their Role in the Wake of NJ Ruling
Senator Allen has signed the "fair judiciary oath," pledging to forgo the use of a filibuster to obstruct a judicial nomination and instead allow judicial nominees an up or down vote. At a rally today in Hampton, he spoke of the importance of confirming judges who understand that their role in the government is not to overturn the will of the people on vital issues such as the protection of marriage.
The pledge and the issue of federal judge appointments have taken on increased significance in the wake of the liberal New Jersey Supreme Court's ruling that the State "must extend all the rights of marriage to gay couples." (Geoff Mulvihill, "NJ High Court Sends Gay Marriage Issue to the State Legislature," Associated Press, October 26, 2006)
On the ballot this year in Virginia is the marriage protection amendment, which Senator Allen supports. But Webb "opposes such a ban." (Zachary Goldfarb and David S. Broder, "This Time, Ballot Issues Could Rally Liberal Base; Wage Initiatives Seen As Favoring Democrats," Washington Post; October 28, 2006)
Webb is trying to obscure his position on the issue, however, by running a radio ad that says he "believes marriage is between a man and a woman" even though he opposes the very amendment that would protect this tradition. (Transcript, Jim Webb for Senate radio ad)
In contrast, Senator Allen has been a consistent advocate for protecting marriage: "There is a clear difference here between me and my opponent - I support protecting marriage from judges who do not understand their role: to interpret the law, not invent the law. My opponent does not." Senator Allen said.
At a rally today in Hampton, Senator Allen was endorsed by over twenty African American pastors from the Tidewater region. The pastors all stand with Senator Allen in support of the marriage protection amendment.
On the issue of whether judges deserve an up or down vote, Webb recently said, " I would have supported the filibuster on Justice Alito " (Virginia Bar Association Debate, July 22, 2006). Jim Webb has so far refused to sign the Fair Judiciary Oath.
Meanwhile, Senator Allen signed the oath of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, which has been at the forefront of the issue since 2000. The coalition is an umbrella organization for over 300 conservative grassroots organizations, including Focus on the Family Action, Fidelis, Committee for Justice, American Conservative Union and many others.
Senator Allen also voiced the principles by which he will make a determination on his vote for a nominee: "Judicial nominees should be committed to the rule of law and understand the proper, restrained role of a judge in a representative democracy. Judges ought to apply the law and the Constitution, not invent the law or amend the Bill of Rights by judicial decree. It is the right of the American people and their elected representatives to make laws as they deem appropriate and this right should not be usurped by unelected federal judges who would inject their personal views in activist rulings."
The Coalition for a Fair Judiciary yesterday named Senator Allen a "Friend of the Constitution" for his "his consistent support for fair, qualified, constitutionalist judicial nominees."
A copy of the oath is attached below:
Text of the Fair Judiciary Oath
I, George Allen, pledge to the voters of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the citizens of the United States that:
I will work to see that everyone duly nominated to serve on the federal judiciary gets a fair confirmation process, including the following:
1) Nominees reaching the Senate floor shall get a timely up or down vote free from substantial delay, including filibuster;
2) If I serve on the Judiciary Committee, I will oppose any arbitrary obstacles that would prevent nominees moving out of committee, absent clear evidence of disqualification.