'Senator Frist is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - As the Senate debates the so-called "nuclear option," the Human Rights Campaign again urged Congress to preserve the minority's ability to block extreme judicial nominations.
"Senator Frist is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "The senators pushing this measure have called it the 'nuclear option,' showing that even they recognize its severity and consequences for our government. Roughly 200 nominees have gone through and fewer than 10 of the most extreme are being held up because of their dismal records on civil liberties. Changing the rules in the game right now is a blatant and dangerous power grab."
HRC has been a part of the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary for the past three years. This coalition of progressive groups works to protect the integrity of the judicial branch through activities such as lobbying, congressional briefings and media events. To encourage its members to express opposition to any attempt to abolish or weaken the filibuster, HRC has sent out Action Alerts and issued op-eds to ensure that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community knows what is at stake.
"Consider what a difference one extreme judicial nominee's appointment can make," added Solmonese. "Had Judge Robert Bork been confirmed, he would have sat on the bench in Lawrence v. Texas rather than Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion. Judge Bork is an outspoken opponent on GLBT rights. Lawrence, the Supreme Court case that struck down discriminatory sodomy laws, was a very close decision. One judge could very well have made the difference in deciding whether or not to brand the GLBT community as criminals."
A procedure that delays votes through unlimited debate, the filibuster allows the minority party to prevent the confirmation of extremist judges to lifetime seats on the federal bench. The filibuster has been used by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Watch an online message from HRC President Joe Solmonese on the nuclear option.
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