Mar 6, 2013
Contact: Candice Johnson, CWA Communications, 202-434-1168, email@example.com
Washington DC – The news that Senate Republicans have filibustered D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Caitlin Halligan demonstrates that the U.S. Senate needs actual rules reform, not compromise agreements that fail to live up to their stated intent, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said today.
“The Halligan filibuster not only destroys the intent of the rules reform compromise agreement for this Congress, but also blows up the Gang of 14 agreement from 2005 that was supposed to limit the obstruction of qualified judicial nominees,” said George Kohl, CWA Senior Director for policy and legislation. “This is just the latest reminder that, instead of Senate compromises that perpetuate Senate gridlock, we need actual and substantial rules reform in the U.S. Senate.”
The New York Times editorializes, “Ms. Halligan should have been confirmed two years ago, and her confirmation is even more urgent now. The court is critically important: it rules on most appeals from federal regulatory agencies and has exclusive jurisdiction in many national security matters. Two years ago, the 11-member bench had three vacancies. Today there are four empty seats, a vacancy level that could harm the court’s ability to handle its docket of complex cases. Had Democrats insisted on filibuster reform, this fight might have been avoided. Now it is up to the Republicans to do the right thing.”
To add to the Times’ point – and also on the Democrats to revisit the topic of Senate rules reform if Republicans do indeed block the Halligan nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said yesterday, “If my Republican colleagues don’t like this woman for whatever reason, vote against her. Don’t stop her from having an up-or-down vote.”
We agree and hope Senator Reid and his caucus recognize that despite settling for watered down Senate rules reform in January, the Republican failure to live up to the terms of that agreement should once again open the door to more substantial reforms. Only through real Senate reform can we ensure that nominees like Halligan receive up-or-down votes and that the Senate engages in actual debate and deliberation on key issues, instead of hiding behind obstructionist tactics.