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Public Statements

Senate Republican Rally

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

November 12, 2003 Wednesday

HEADLINE: SENATE REPUBLICAN RALLY

TOPIC: JUSTICE FOR JUDGES MARATHON ALL-NIGHT DEBATE

PARTICIPANTS INCLUDE: SENATOR BILL FRIST (TN), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER; SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (KY); OTHER REPUBLICAN SENATORS

LOCATION: S-207, THE CAPITOL, WASHINGTON, D.C.

BODY:

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (SC): Thank you, Leader.

One, I want to congratulate the leader for focusing on this problem. He's in a untenable position. I think when they make you majority leader, there's no handbook that you can go to that explains to you how do you break a partisan filibuster, because it's never been done before. I think you're doing a very responsible job focusing on it, and there's probably more effort to come on our part.

There's never a good time to hijack the Constitution for political reasons, but the worst time is when you're at war and you got 9 million people unemployed. I've been on the Judiciary Committee in the other body during a very tough time for our country, during impeachment. Senator Hatch has had a very difficult time of it on the committee, trying to get good people to the floor for a vote, but we've been able to get them out of committee.

Here's what I worry most about: that if you're asking somebody to serve in the federal bench at a high level, if we continue what we're doing, good people are not going to apply. Miguel Estrada is going to be the first of many more who probably will say, "I don't want to go through that." And our colleagues on the other side have taken a step that no one's taken in over 200 years. And this is a step off a cliff, because it will be answered in kind.

And the real winner in this whole process is special interest groups. Whether it be abortion, guns or the environment, collecting up 41 senators to do your will is a lot easier than collecting up 50.

So the American people are the big-time losers here. If we allow this filibuster to stand, then the culture of the Senate will have changed for the worst; good men and women will not want to become judges, because they get their lives ruined in the process; and we'll have changed the Constitution. It will make us worse the wear in terms of a rule-of-law nation.

So I don't know how we end this, but I know now is the time to start to fight back. And there's more to come.

Copyright 2003 Federal News Service, Inc. Federal News Service

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