Sunday, June 04, 2006

My letter to Joe

This morning, as we get closer to the Supreme Court winding up it's session and handing down decisions in many landmark cases, I was thinking about Samuel Alito's potential impact on the Court. I wonder how many decisions that would have been defeated 4-5 with Sandy O'Connor on the bench will be upheld 5-4 now that "Strip Search Sammy"* is there.

* (Doe v. Grody--the case in which Alito dissented from a ruling that an unauthorized strip-search of a 10-year old girl was unconstitutional...'cause, you know, maybe she was a terrist or somethin'...)

So I wrote Joe Lieberman a letter:

Dear Senator Lieberman,

In an email you wrote to me back in February, you discussed your votes on the Samuel Alito confirmation. You explained that while you voted "no" on the vote for confirmation, you also had voted "yes" on cloture.

This "yes" vote had the effect of confirming Judge Alito, since the Republicans needed a simple majority to confirm him (50 votes, remembering that Cheney would be the Senate tie-breaker), as opposed to needing 60 votes (a "super majority") to break a filibuster.

The Democrats currently hold 45 Senate seats, so if the minority was organized by its leaders, you could have easily defeated Alito's confirmation.

I questioned your actions at the time, and this is what you responded with:
"With respect to the filibuster vote, as you may know, I was a member of the Senate "Gang of 14" that last year worked together to save the right of Senators to filibuster judicial nominations. As part of that agreement, I agreed to filibuster only in extraordinary circumstances.

To me, this situation did not meet this extraordinary circumstances standard."
My question is, if seating a known conservative, anti-choice judge to replace a centrist (O'Connor) on the Supreme Court isn't worthy of attempting a filibuster, what is? Would you please give me an example of what you would consider "extraordinary circumstances"?

I feel it's important to clarify the boundaries of this extraordinary circumstances standard. The threat of a filibuster is one of the only tools the Democrats have to keep the Republicans in check, and by taking that option off the table you are giving away our only advantage.

Thank you for your time.

Bob Adams
That was my letter...I'm not expecting a reply anytime soon.

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