SEN. LEAHY: One of the things that most Republicans and Democrats
ought to be able to agree on is what (then-)Governor Bush said:
Do it and vote them up or down in 60 days. Let's make a decision.
SEN. DASCHLE: Among the constitutional responsibilities entrusted
to the Senate, none is more critical to the well-being of our
democracy than providing advice and consent on Presidential nominations.
SEN. LEAHY: No one will be here forever. All will leave at some
time. When we leave, we can only look back and say: What kind
of service did we give? Did we put the country's interests first?
Or did we put partisan interest first? Did we put integrity first,
or did we play behind the scenes and do things that were wrong?
SEN. KENNEDY: Over 200 years ago, the Framers of the Constitution
created a system of checks and balances to ensure that excessive
power is not concentrated in any branch of government. The President
was given the authority to nominate federal judges with the advice
and consent of the Senate. The clear intent was for the Senate
to work with the President, not against him, in this process.
SEN. SCHUMER: By not filling vacancies, we hamper the judiciary's
ability to fulfill its own constitutional duties. . . . This
delay makes a mockery of the Constitution, makes a mockery of
the fact that we are here working, and makes a mockery of the
lives of very sincere people who have put themselves forward
to be judges and then they hang out there in limbo. (3/7/00)
SEN. LEAHY: I hope we will have a chance to vote on them, not
just in committee . . . but on the floor of the Senate. That
is what the Constitution speaks of in our advise and consent
capacity. That is what these good and decent people have a right
to expect. That is what our oath of office should compel Members
to do - to vote for or against. I do not question the judgement
or conscience of any man or woman in this Senate if they vote
differently that I do, but vote. (9/21/99)
SEN. REED: This is one of our enumerated duties in the Constitution.
. . . I ask my colleagues to take their constitutional duty seriously
and vote for these nominees on the basis of their objective qualifications,
and not on the basis of petty politics. This process is much
too important to the citizens of this great democracy to do otherwise.
SEN. LEAHY: One of our most important constitutional responsibilities
as United States Senators is to advise and consent on the scores
of judicial nominations sent to us to fill the vacancies on the
federal courts around the country. I continue to urge the Senate
to meet its responsibilities to all nominees. . . . We must redouble
our efforts . . . . That is our constitutional responsibility.
It should not be shirked. (7/25/00)
SEN. LEAHY: There are only 100 of us who are elected to represent
a quarter of a billion Americans. . . . Let us not play silly
parliamentary games and tell the American people we do not have
the guts to vote . . . (3/8/00)
SEN. KENNEDY: Many of us have been concerned about the Senate's
continuing delays in acting on President Clinton's nominees to
the federal courts . . . . This kind of partisan, Republican
stonewalling is irresponsible and unacceptable. It's hurting
the courts and it's hurting the country. . . . The continuing
delays are a gross perversion of the confirmation process that
has served this country well for more than 200 years. When the
Founders wrote the Constitution and gave the Senate the power
of advice and consent on Presidential nominations, they never
intended the Senate to work against the President. . . . (9/21/99)
SEN. LEAHY: We are not being responsible. We are being dishonest,
condescending, and arrogant toward the judiciary. It deserves
better and the American people deserve better. . . . Nominees
deserve to be treated with dignity and dispatch. . . . We are
seeing outstanding nominees nitpicked and delayed to the point
that good women and men are being deterred from seeking to serve
as federal judges. (9/8/99)
SEN. LEAHY: We should be the conscience of the Nation. On some
occasions we have been. But we tarnish the conscience of this
great Nation if we establish the precedence of partisanship and
rancor that go against all precedents and set the Senate on a
course of meanness and smallness . . . . For the last several
years, I have been urging the Judiciary Committee and the Senate
to proceed to consider and confirm judicial nominees more promptly,
without the months of delay that now accompany so many nominations.
SEN. DASCHLE: I believe there is a time and a place for us to
consider any nominee and, once having done so, we need to get
on with it. I cannot imagine that anybody could justify, anybody
could rationalize, anybody could explain why, in the name of
public service, we would put anyone through the misery and the
extraordinary anguish that these nominees have had to face for
years. Why would anyone ever offer themselves for public service
. . . ? (3/9/00)
SEN. HARKIN: I hope the Judiciary Committee and the leadership
on that side. . .will listen to the words of Texas Governor George
Bush. He said he would call for a 60-day deadline for judges
- once they are nominated, the Senate will have 60 days to hold
a hearing, to report out of committee and vote on the Senate
floor. . . . If he said he would call for a 60-day deadline,
I ask my friends on the Republican side: Why don't we act accordingly?
SEN. LEAHY: If I could make a recommendation, I would join an
unusual ally in that. Gov. George W. Bush of Texas (stated that)
presidential nominations should be acted upon by the Senate within
60 days. He said: 'The Constitution . . does not empower anyone
to turn the process into a protracted ordeal of unreasonable
delay and unrelenting investigation. Yet somewhere along the
way, that is what Senate confirmations became - lengthy, partisan,
and unpleasant. It has done enough harm, injured too many good
people, and it must not happen again.' Governor Bush is right.
. . . I have said the same thing. (7/21/2000)
SEN. DASCHLE: The Republican majority should not be allowed
to cherry-pick among nominees, allowing some to be confirmed
in weeks, while letting other nominations languish for years.
. . . Let the Senate vote on every nomination. (10/5/99)
SEN. LEAHY: Either vote for them or vote against them. Don't
leave people . . . just hanging forever with even getting a rollcall
vote. That is wrong. It is not a responsible way and besmirches
the Senate. . . . (10/5/00)
SEN. DASCHLE: There is going to be no payback. We are not going
to do to Republican nominees, whenever that happens, what they
have done to Democratic nominees. Why? Because it is not right.
Will we differ? Absolutely. Will we have votes and vote against
nominees on the basis of whatever we choose? Absolutely. But
are we going to make them wait for years and years to get their
fair opportunity to be voted on and considered? Absolutely not.
That is not right. I do not care who is in charge. I do not care
which President is making the nomination. That is not right.