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Saturday, April 30, 2005


Judicial appointments and the right to Filibuster

The President and his Constituency of Evangelical Christians - "A big wet kiss to the far right"?

The new attack dog of Christian zealots, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee (eyeing the White House in 2008) offered a "compromise" on the impasse about judicial appointments.

What was his offer? Limit debates to 100 hours before a straight up and down vote. Big deal. Instead of continuing with direct attempts to kill filibuster rights he just took a different tack to achieve the same end.

"But in a surprise to no one, Democrats rejected Frist's proposal within minutes. "There's no way we're going to give up our right to extended debate," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters. He repeated the colorful description he had used in his floor remarks a bit earlier: Frist's offer, he said, was "a big wet kiss to the far right."

Lost in the clamour of the conservatives are facts about judicial appointments by Bill Clinton and G.W. Bush (who has another 3.5 years ahead of him). A report titled "The Decision Making Ideology of George W. Bush's Judicial Appointees" is a must-read for those who are interested in learning more.

The authors:

Kenneth L. Manning
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth


Robert A. Carp
Professor of Political Science
University of Houston

Links to Washington Post and Univ. of Massachusetts

A big wet kiss

G.W. Bush's Judicial Appointments

"Across the ages, clergy have been interested [according to Jefferson] not in truth but only in wealth and power; when rational people have had difficulty swallowing "their impious heresies," then the clergy have, with the help of the state, forced "them down their throats." Five years later, he [Jefferson] wrote of "this loathsome combination of church and state" that for so many centuries reduced human beings to "dupes and drudges."

Attribution: Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 47. According to Gaustad, the first quotes are from a letter from Jefferson to William Baldwin, January 19, 1810; the second source is a letter from Jefferson to Charles Clay, January 29, 1815.

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