FILIBUSTER SHOULD NOT STAND IN THE WAY OF NOMINEES -- (House of Representatives - May 10, 2005)
(Mr. PITTS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, it is kind of hard to see justice served in this Nation when our Federal bench has vacancies on it. That is why the President has put forward a number of highly qualified, highly skilled people to serve on the Federal bench.
However, Senate Democrats do not like these judges. They have conspired to block judges using the filibuster. That means a nominee requires the approval not of 51 Senators, which the Constitution requires, a majority; but 60 Senators, a supermajority.
So Republicans would like to restore the tradition of the Senate approving the President's judicial nominations by requiring an up-or-down vote. This is called the Constitutional Option, because it empowers Senators to vote on judicial nominees, up or down. The rule change will apply only to judicial nominees.
It actually has been used before by Democrats. In 1995, 19 currently serving Democratic Senators voted to end all filibusters, and Senator ROBERT BYRD has tried to amend use of the filibuster several times.
As long as there is a Senate, there will be a filibuster and other delaying tactics available to thwart the majority and legislation. But as long as the Constitution directs the Senate to vote on judicial nominees, the filibuster will not stand in the way.