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Press Release

    Senator Daschle, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the DOJ Need to Re-Assess Priorities and Responsibilities

    02/01/2002

    Soundbite: With our nation our at war and the threat of another terrorist attack at home very real, the importance of the institutions of government responsible for administering justice cannot be overstated. Unfortunately for Americans, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.) are stonewalling on President Bush's judicial nominations. Both Democratic Senators are blocking President Bush's nominees from ever receiving a committee hearing or a vote on the Senate floor. This partisan obstructionism is indefensible and harmful to our legal system. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department has been devoting scarce tax dollars towards a baseless racketeering case against the tobacco industry instead of protecting and defending Americans from future terrorist attacks. Americans deserve a Justice Department that places protecting the nation from terrorist attacks ahead of pursuing frivolous lawsuits against law-abiding companies.

    Summary: The Senate Judiciary Committee has prevented federal judicial nominees from even receiving a hearing. After nearly a year in office, the Senate has confirmed only 40 percent of President Bush's judicial nominees. This compared to an 88 percent rate for President Clinton-an abysmal record for any committee. The more than 100 open seats in need of qualified federal judges have created a crisis situation. Instead of acting on President Bush's judicial nominees, precious time and resources are being wasted by the Judiciary Committee to launch partisan investigations into leading U.S. companies such as Microsoft. By opting for obstruction rather than genuine compromise, Senator Daschle has jeopardized our national security and judicial integrity.

    In addition to our nation's judicial branch, the DOJ and its agencies have a vital role to play to restore confidence, punish wrongdoers, and protect the borders against those who wish us harm. But to do so effectively, it must refrain from engaging in politically motivated nonsense. The fight against the war on terrorism will require valuable resources and time. The Clinton-Reno Justice Department put 20 times more tax dollars into litigation than its counter-terrorism efforts. By devoting scare resources towards inquisitions of lawful businesses, the DOJ cannot possibly fulfill its mission to protect and defend the American people, while maintaining meticulous concern for basic American freedoms. It's time for Attorney General Ashcroft to re-focus the Department of Justice away from pursuing frivolous lawsuits and Clinton-era priorities and redirect resources to the war on terrorism and the confirmation of judicial nominees.

    Call to Action: Contact your Senators and tell them the following:

  • America's judiciary is at a crisis point. Senator Daschle and the Judiciary Committee must allow hearings on President Bush's judicial nominations.
  • When President Bush took office there were 82 judicial vacancies. There are now more than 100. Under the leadership Senator Daschle, the federal judiciary is actually shrinking in spite of a record number of nominations by President Bush.
  • Call to Action: Contact Attorney General John Ashcroft and tell him the following:

  • The nation needs the Department of Justice and its agencies to devote their full attention to protecting and defending American citizens during a time of war.
  • By devoting more tax dollars toward politically motivated civil and antitrust suits, the DOJ sacrifices its ability to address the terrorist threat.
  • Balancing the need to protect American citizens with the desire to defend American freedoms is a difficult task that requires the full resources of the department. Wasteful prosecutions and civil suits should not take precedence over this mission.
  • CSE'S JUDICIAL GOALS

    Senate Needs to Confirm President Bush's Judicial Nominees

    Even Chief Justice William Rehnquist realizes the toll of the Senate

    Judiciary Committee's inaction and recently stated that the judicial system is

    currently woefully short of adequate judges to fill vacancies on the federal bench.

    He asked the Senate to stop its obstructionist behavior and at least give hearings

    to those that have been nominated months ago.

    The US Department of Justice

    Must Stop its Frivolous Pursuit of Successful Companies and Focus Attention and

    Resources to the War on Terrorism
    The war on terrorism will require precious

    tax dollars; unfortunately, many of these resources have been utilized for pursuing

    a partisan agenda against the tobacco industry and successful businesses. Instead

    of wasting these resources, the DOJ should concentrate winning the war against
    terrorism.

    Resources:
    Write President Bush to Ask that the DOJ Focus on

    Terrorism Instead of the Tobacco Lawsuit
    http://www.capitolconnect.com/cse/ALERTS.asp?subject=72
    Send a Letter to your Senator on Judicial Nominations. http://www.capitolconnect.com/cse/ALERTS.asp?subject=71
    Read Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist's Remarks on the Pace of Judicial Nominations
    http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/01/01/scotus.rehnquist.ap/