Pro-Family Leaders: Senate Compromise Amounts to 'Betrayal'
- Jody Brown, Fred Jackson, and Bill Fancher AgapePress
- 2005 5 May
May 25, 2005
Pro-family leaders are expressing outrage over a compromise deal in the Senate that will allow a vote on some of the president's heretofore filibustered judicial nominees, but preserves the tactic for liberal Democrats to use against nominees they deem too conservative.
On Thursday, 14 members of the U.S. Senate -- seven Republicans and seven Democrats -- proudly announced a Senate compromise to end Democratic filibusters against three of President Bush's judicial nominees: Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid told reporters that filibusters will continue against two other Bush nominees -- William Myers and Henry Saad. A vote on Owen could come as early as this week, according to news reports.
Reid also had a message for the White House regarding the agreement. "Abuse of power will not be tolerated, will not be tolerated by Democrats or Republicans," the minority leader stated. "And your attempt, I say to the vice president and to the president, to trample the Constitution and grab absolute control is over."
Reid also said he hopes President Bush will consult with senators from both parties if there is a Supreme Court vacancy. "If the president has an agenda, we're willing to work on his agenda," he said, "but he should have a little more humility, I guess is the word that I'd like to pronounce."
And while Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist observed that the pact "has some good news and it has some disappointing news," he added that a future vote could be taken to change Senate rules if filibusters continue against judicial nominees. "There is no need at present for the constitutional option," the Tennessee Republican said, "but with this agreement, all options remain on the table, including the constitutional option."
A "return to bad behavior" during his tenure as majority leader, stated Frist, "will bring the Senate back to the point where all 100 members will be asked to decide whether judicial nominees deserve a fair up-or-down vote."
Many pro-family leaders, however, believe the Republicans -- the majority party in the Senate -- should not have agreed to such an arrangement with the Democrats.
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is blasting the Senate deal, calling it a "complete betrayal."
"This Senate agreement represents a ... betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats," Dobson states in a press release. "The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed. The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals."
The pro-family leader notes that had such an agreement been in place during earlier confirmations, conservative jurists such as Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have made it to the Supreme Court.
Gary Bauer of American Values says the Senate compromise makes it "more likely that radical social change will continue to be forced on the American people by liberal courts committed to such things as same-sex marriage, abortion on demand, and hostility to religious expression."
"I think it's very sad and very, very disappointing," Bauer says of the arrangement. "The number-one principle here is that every judicial nominee deserves an up-or-down vote -- and because of these senators who got all weak in the knees, that principle for now has been lost."
He contends the deal will continue to allow liberals to label pro-life and pro-family judges as "extremists."
A pro-family leader in Pennsylvania concurs with Dobson and Bauer. "This so-called compromise is a betrayal to fairness and confirms there will be an ideological litmus test on all future nominees," says Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania. "All President Bush's judicial nominees deserve an up-or-down vote -- not just a select few that these rogue senators name in a compromise."
Owen, the Texas judge who could come up for a confirmation vote this week, has waited for more than four years for that to happen. Brown and Pryor have waited 22 months and 25 months respectively. Gramley notes that several others have waited longer than Brown and Pryor -- David McKeaque and Susan Neilson (three and half years each), Richard Griffin (almost three years), and Henry Saad (three years).
"[I] agree with Senator Bill Frist that if Owen, Pryor, and Brown deserve an up-or-down vote, so do the others who are waiting a yes or no answer to their confirmation," Gramley states. "It is unfair to President Bush and these nominees to do any less than respect them enough to vote on them."
But not all conservative groups are strongly opposed to the compromise. Rev. Patrick Mahoney, who heads the Christian Defense Coalition, tells Associated Press that he is "cautiously optimistic" about the pending votes on Owen, Brown, and Pryor. "As long as Senator Frist has not removed the constitutional option from the table, we consider this a significant victory," Mahoney says.
"All along our prayer has been for an up-or-down vote on all of the president's nominees," he adds.
While it is apparent that will happen with some of the nominees, the prospect that others may still be obstructed by a Democratic filibuster remains an obvious point of contention for conservatives.
© 2005 Agape Press. All rights reserved. Used with permision.