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Press Release

Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters Letter

National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters Letter

The Honorable William H. Frist, M.D.
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
The Honorable Rick Santorum
The Honorable Jon Kyl
The Honorable Elizabeth Dole
The Honorable Arlen Specter
United States Senate
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC

April 4, 2005

Dear Senators:

As the representatives of millions of American voices, we write to ask you to end the judicial filibusters at the earliest possible moment and well before a Supreme Court vacancy should occur.

We believe that short of a compromise that guarantees an up or down vote at the end of debate, the Constitutional Options available to you will serve to honor the Constitution, restore Senate tradition, and protect judicial independence.

We believe that generations of Americans are called at moments to lay foundations for the future, and that this is one such moment.

The independence of the judiciary was a core reason for our national birth. The threat to the judicial independence was high among the grievances that our Founding Fathers listed to King George III in the Declaration of Independence. The Framers firmly established an independent judiciary, but one subject to a written Constitution and the checks and balances of the other branches that it prescribes.

In recent times, partisan special interests have threatened judicial independence again by inserting ideology into the Senate confirmation process of federal judges. Now the Minority has changed 215 years of Senate tradition by abusing the filibuster for the first time against nominees with clear majority support.

The Senate must act as steward of the federal courts by returning the power to confirm judges to the Constitution's simple majority requirement. While it is the right of the President to expect the Senate to give Advice and Consent within a reasonable period of time, it is the duty of every Senator to offer Advice and Consent through an honest, up or down vote.

Moreover, the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster is a device intended to undermine the prerogatives of the Presidency as well as the tradition of the Senate. It must not stand. You must not waver. The President, this President, must have the freedom to nominate appellate judges and Supreme Court justices who will restore the courts to their constitutional role.

We are convinced that the proof of history is overwhelming that the Constitutional Options are a conservative response that do not threaten but will restore Senate debate rules and tradition.

As you know, the right of unlimited debate in the Senate ended in 1917 when President Wilson demanded that the Senate not filibuster matters of national security. The Senate adopted the "cloture" rule. The last amendment to that rule came in 1975 ­ thirty years ago. For three decades, there has been a broad consensus supporting 60-vote threshold to end debate, at least for legislative filibusters. In 1995, nineteen (19) Democrat senators voted to end debate after three weeks with a 51 vote threshold. That proposal's purpose was to limit the legislative filibuster. Senate Republicans were a new majority that year, but unanimously opposed the change. The Democratic leadership and a majority of Senate Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the proposal. .

That failed vote in 1995 and the absence of any other amendment efforts for three decades is ample evidence of bipartisan agreement to preserve the legislative filibuster, demonstrating a two-century-old consensus. Clearly, however, the partisan abuse of the cloture rule in the last Congress to obstruct honest votes on judicial nominees has fractured the consensus as to filibusters on nominations.

We understand that Article I of the Constitution allows the Senate to adopt rules for itself, but that right belongs to this Senate as much as it did to the first Senate. We call for a restoration of Senate traditions, returning to the majority vote on Advice and Consent the Constitution mandates.

We ask you also to put partisan advantage aside. While there is no doubt that the Minority's filibusters have helped Republicans win recent elections, we are certain that Republicans will do the right thing for themselves and the Nation by ending the partisan obstruction now.

We call on the Senate Leadership and the Republican Majority to end the filibusters on appellate nominees and well before a Supreme Court vacancy occurs.


C. Boyden Gray, Committee for Justice
Kay R. Daly, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Harvey Tettlebaum, Republican National Lawyers Association
David A. Keene, American Conservative Union
Gary L. Bauer, American Values
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Paul Weyrich, Free Congress Foundation
Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family
James D. Daly, Focus on the Family
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
James J. Fotis, Law Enforcement Alliance of America
Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship Ministries
Mark Earley, Prison Fellowship Ministries
Connie Mackey, Family Research Council
Lisa DePasquale, Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute
L. Brent Bozell III, Conservative Victory Committee
Dr. William A. Donohue, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America
Dr. Carl Herbster, AdvanceUSA
Ray Ruddy, Gerard Health Foundation
Kurt Entsminger, Care Net
Dr. Virginia Armstrong, Eagle Forum's Court Watch
Duane Parde, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)
Matt Kibbe, Freedom Works
Peter A. Samuelson, Americans United for Life
Clarke D. Forsythe, Esq. AUL's Project on Law and Bioethics
Richard Land, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Dr. Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Dr. John C. Eastman, The Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice
James Bopp, Jr., James Madison Center for Free Speech
Samuel B. Casey, Christian Legal Society
Kelly Shackelford. Liberty Legal Institute
Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel
Alan E. Sears, Alliance Defense Fund
Roy Innis, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
Niger Innis, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
Lanier Swann, Concerned Women for America
Dr. Keith Wiebe, American Association of Christian Schools
Jeffrey Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom
Brian McCabe, Progress for America
Phyllis Berry Myers, New Black Leadership Coalition
Nancie Marzulla, Defenders of Property Rights
Kevin W. Blier, Center for American Cultural Renewal
Steven Mosher, Population Research Institute
Ken Connor, Center for a Just Society
Rick Scarborough, Vision America
Michael Valerio, Vision America
Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network
Ron Robinson, Young America's Foundation
Michael Howden, Stronger Families
Manuel Lujan, Jr., Hispanic Alliance for Progress Institute
James L. Martin, 60 Plus Association
Penny Nance, Kids First Coalition
Charles W. Jarvis, USA Next (United Seniors Association)
Dr. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries
Dr. Gary Cass, Center for Reclaiming America
Mark Sutherland, Joyce Meyer Ministries
Dr. S. Dale Burroughs, Biblical Heritage Institute
Mike Snyder, The Wilberforce Forum
Bishop Keith Butler
Pastor Rod Parsley, Center for Moral Clarity
Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Traditional Values Coalition
Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition
Jeff Ballabon, Center for Jewish Values
Bill May, Catholics for the Common Good
Oliver N.E. Kellman, Jr., National Faith Based Coalition
Rev. Rusty Thomas, Eijah Ministries
Dr. Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Steve Lemke, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Craig Blaising, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas
Austin Ruse, Culture of Life Foundation
Thomas Glessner, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates
Leslee Unruh, Abstinence Clearinghouse
Thomas A. Shields, Coalition for Marriage and Family
Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute
Warren Kelley, National Center for Freedom & Renewal
Robert B. Carlson, American Civil Rights Union
Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach
Jennifer Bingham, Susan B. Anthony List
Paul Caprio, Family-PAC Federal
Larry Cirignano,
William Greene,
C. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Phil Burress, Citizens for Community Values
Alvin Williams, Black America’s PAC (BAMPAC)
Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association
Stephen M. Crampton, AFA Center for Law & Policy
Dr. Patricia McEwen, Life Coalition International
Rev. Keith Tucci, Life Coalition International
Richard Ford, Heritage Alliance
Karen Testerman, Cornerstone Policy Research
Gregory K. Blankenship, Illinois Policy Institute
Mary Anne Hackett, Catholic Citizens of Illinois
Irwin Essenfeld, Renew Illinois Foundation
Mary T Erickson, Illinois Citizens for Life
Peter LaBarbera, Illinois Family Institute
Thomas Smith, America 21 (Tennessee)
Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society, Pro-life Law Center (Chicago)
Denise Mackura, Ohio Right to Life
Russell Johnson, American Restoration Project (Pastor, Fairfield Christian Church, OH)
James E. Barrett, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Gary Glenn, American Family Association of Michigan
Len Deo, New Jersey Family Policy Council
Dr. Steven J. Kidder, New York State Family Policy Council, Inc.
Michael S. Heath, Christian Civic League of Maine
Kenneth Endean, Maine Association of Christian Schools
Lisa E. Roche, Esq, Maine Right to Life Committee
Cathie Adams, Texas Eagle Forum
Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute
Diane Gramley, American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Dr. Ed Johnson, Minnesota Association of Christian Schools
Tom Prichard, Minnesota Family Council
Michael N. Duff, United Families Idaho
Julie Lynde, Cornerstone Institute of Idaho
Chuck Hurley, Iowa Family Policy Center
Kelly M. Rosati, JD, Hawaii Family Forum
Dr. James Efaw, Colorado Association of Christian Schools
Gene Mills, Louisiana Family Forum
Sadie Fields, Christian Coalition of Georgia
Rev. Reece Yandle, South Carolina Association of Christian Schools
Brad Fleming, Maryland Association of Christian Educators
Douglas P. Stiegler, Family Protection Lobby - Maryland
Dr. Ronald Konopaski, United For Life- San Francisco
Dr. Joe Haas, North Carolina Christian School Association
Bill Brooks, North Carolina Family Policy Council
Robert E. Regier, South Dakota Family Policy Council
Kent Ostrander, The Family Foundation of Kentucky
David Bydalek, Family First (Nebraska)
Len Munsil, The Center for Arizona Policy
Micah Clark, American Family Association of Indiana
John Stemberger, Florida Family Action, Inc
Forest Thigpen, Mississippi Center for Public Policy
Michael L. Jestes, Oklahoma Family Policy Council
Julaine K. Appling, The Family Research Institute of Wisconsin
Joe Bob Mizzell, Alabama Baptist Christian Life Commission
Tim Parish, Rocky Mountain Association of Christian Schools.
Dr. Ken Hutcherson, Antioch Bible Church, Redmond, WA
William F. Large, Alaska Republican Party
Hiram Lewis, Esq., West Virginia GOP
Dorcas K. Harbert, GOP County Chair, Monongalia County, Morgantown, WV
Charles Bolen, Past Chairman, West Virginia Young Republicans
Former Congressman Mick Staton (R-WV)
West Virginia Senator Larry Kimble (R-WV)
Mark Coyle, former Communications Director, WV Republican Party
Grant M. Lally, Irish American Republicans
Brian McCarthy, Irish-American Republicans
Don A. Daughtery, Wisconsin Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Maclin Davis, Tennessee Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Mark E. Foster, Oregon Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Craig Hymowitz, Philadelphia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Jefferson Knight, Florida Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Paul D. Seyferth, Kansas Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Frank B. Strickland, Georgia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
William M. Todd, Ohio Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Corey R. Weber, California Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Thomas E. Wheeler, Indiana Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
William B. Sellers, Alabama Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Brian T. Egan, New York Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Ann Browning, California Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Cameron Quinn, Virginia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Lee Goodman, Virginia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
David Blackwood, Maryland Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Mark Chadwick, Southern Arizona Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Keith Carlson, Orange County (CA) Republican Lawyers Association
Rhet Miles, Chairman of the Benton County, Arkansas, Republican Committee
Ron Shuping, The Inspiration Television Networks
Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated Radio and TV host
Martha Zoller, Radio Talk Show Host and Political Analyst (Georgia)
Kevin P. Doran, Radio Talk Show host (New York)
Mike Siegel, Radio host and author of Power Talk: The Influence of Talk Radio
Chris Dickson. "The Dickson/Chappell Report", (Midwest)
Dom Giordano 1210 AM Radio (Philadelphia)
Adam McManus, Radio Host of "Take A Stand" (Texas)
Dave “Doc” Kirby, Radio Host (Alabama)
Inga Barks, Radio Host (Southern CA)
Marta Montelongo, Radio Host (Central CA)
Vicki McKenna, Radio Host, News/Talk 1310 WIBA (Wisconsin)
Brian Farrar, Syndicated talk show host, Michigan Talk Radio Network
Mark R. Levin, author of Men in Black
Craig Shirley, author, "Reagan's Revolution; The Untold Story of the Campaign that Started it All."
Carol A. Taber, (former publisher, Working Woman and Working Mother magazines).
Victor K. Williams, Professor of Law, Catholic University of America School of Law
Clint Bolick, Esq. (Arizona)