National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters
The Honorable Ted Stevens
The Honorable William H. Frist, M.D.
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
The Honorable Rick Santorum
The Honorable Jon Kyl
The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutcheson
The Honorable Elizabeth Dole
The Honorable Arlen Specter
The Honorable Trent Lott
The Honorable John McCain
The Honorable Mike Dewine
The Honorable Lindsay Graham
and all Republican Senators.
United States Senate
June 30, 2005
As the representatives of millions of American voices, we write again to urge you to end judicial filibusters. If elections are to mean anything, and they must mean something, you must end the obstruction.
We commend Leader Frist and the Republican leadership for the recent extraordinary allocation of Senate time to judicial nominations and for standing up for principle, and not just for party, in readying to end judicial filibusters. You took the road of statesmen.
We believe, however, that the May compromise by 14 senators to avoid the use of the Constitutional Option, while it may well have been a temporary pragmatic and political success in getting several circuit judges confirmed and defeating the litmus test of ideology and religion, was a defeat of principle that dishonored the Constitution, ignored an election, and went entirely in the wrong direction. It created a de facto Senate Judiciary Committee with powers unprecedented and unchecked in Senate rules or tradition.
The so-called “Deal” legitimized the judicial filibuster and altered the checks and balances provided in the Constitution by diminishing the Presidency in favor of the Senate.
We urge you to test the “Deal” and ready yourselves again to end judicial filibusters as soon as possible. We know that Senate leadership can trump each and every device that the minority can use to slow down Senate business, and there are few single items of Senate business that are as important as its special stewardship of the Judiciary.
We also write to express our support for the confirmation of Henry Saad of Michigan to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. We ask that you schedule him to be voted out of the Judiciary Committee (again) and onto the Senate Calendar at the earliest moment.
As you know, Judge Saad was one of two judicial nominees abandoned by the May compromise. In opposing Judge Saad, the minority has picked yet another nominee who sings in his church choir. Judge Saad is a Board Member of the Greater Detroit Interfaith Roundtable of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He serves on the Executive Committee of the American Arabic and Jewish Friends and he is a recipient of the Arab-American and Chaldean Council Civic and Humanitarian Award. Judge Saad also serves on the Board of Visitors of the Ave Maria School of Law
He is happily married with four grown children.
We fear that in blocking Judge Saad, the minority has introduced a new and insidious tactic by suggesting that there is something untoward in Judge Saad’s FBI file to justify obstruction. It is no wonder that the uncharitable and unethical use of this tactic brought an immediate response from Arab American leaders who decried it as a slur on all Arab Americans in an era after 9/11.
We are assured that there is nothing to warrant obstruction, as evidenced by four nominations or re-nominations by two presidents and the recommendation of all Republican senators who voted Judge Saad out of the Judiciary Committee in 2004, including Senators Graham and Dewine.
We believe that the minority is betting that some Republican senators are prone to surrender to the mere allegation of an impropriety, and the minority knows that Republicans (like all other senators) are obliged not to discuss FBI files in public.
Finally, even after the minority’s impugnation, the American Bar Association, which Democrats once argued was the gold standard of nominations, recently raised Judge Saad’s rating from “Qualified” to “Well-Qualified,” the ABA’s highest rating.
The minority also points to a misdirected email letter to suggest intemperateness. In 2003, at the peak of the Daschle filibusters, a Michigan supporter forwarded to Judge Saad a form letter issued by Senator Stabenow’s office to defend her obstruction of judicial nominees. Through inadvertence, Judge Saad misdirected his reply to Senator Stabenow’s office believing he was replying to a friend.
The minority has used this misdirected, private email to argue that Judge Saad is intemperate and that his email suggests a violation of Senate tradition. But no one objected when Judge Charles Pickering went on television news shows and 60 Minutes to express his frustration over Democrats’ obstruction of his nomination. Moreover, given that Judge Saad was first nominated to the federal court in 1992 and re-nominated in 2001, Judge Saad’s comment (below) shows remarkable temperateness.
Judge Saad wrote: “We know, of course, that this is the game they play. Pretend to do the right thing while abusing the system and undermining the Constitutional process. Perhaps some day she will pay the price for her misconduct.” What is intemperate about saying that to a friend?
The ideological objection to Judge Saad’s nomination is negligible. A full review of Judge Saad’s record shows him to be a judge who follows the law, and that he is an umpire who is neither pro-pitcher nor pro-batter. Notably, Judge Saad has the support of the UAW and AFL-CIO, as well as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and all of us.
In fact, Judge Saad has wide bi-partisan support among Michigan political leaders, fellow judges and editorial boards.
Judge Saad’s personal story is compelling. When confirmed he will be the first Arab-American to serve on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Filling a Michigan seat, Judge Saad will represent the state with the highest concentration per capita of Arab Americans.
The symbolic significance of Judge Saad’s nomination is no small matter. U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh of Michigan, himself an Arab American appointed by President Clinton put it this way: “[Bush’s nomination of Saad in the wake of the September 11 attacks] conveys an important message to all citizens and residents of this country that we embrace and welcome diversity and that we are extending the American dream to anyone who is prepared to work hard.”
We believe that Senate Republicans should not now send an opposite message. We expect that you will agree.
Paul Weyrich, Coalitions for America
Roy Innis and Niger Innis, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
David A. Keene, American Conservative Union
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Gary L. Bauer, American Values
C. Boyden Gray, Committee for Justice
Harvey Tettlebaum, Republican National Lawyers Association
Roberta Combs and Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America
Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family
Manuel A. Miranda, Third Branch Conference
James J. Fotis, Law Enforcement Alliance of America
Connie Mackey, Family Research Council
L. Brent Bozell III, Conservative Victory Campaign
Mark R. Levin, Landmark Legal Foundation, author of Men in Black
Duane Parde, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)
Dr. Virginia Armstrong, Eagle Forum's Court Watch
Beverly LaHaye and Jan La Rue, Concerned Women for America
Dr. Carl Herbster, AdvanceUSA
Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association
Stephen M. Crampton, AFA Center for Law & Policy
Tim Clinton, American Association of Christian Counselors
Dr. John C. Eastman, The Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Kelly Shackelford. Liberty Legal Institute
Dr. James H. Broussard, Citizens Against Higher Taxes
Dr. Richard Land, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Dr. Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Jeffrey Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom
Kay R. Daly, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Bill May, Catholics for the Common Good
Kerri Houston, Frontiers of Freedom
Jonathan Moseley, Legal Affairs Council
James L. Martin, 60 Plus Association
Charles W. Jarvis, USA Next (United Seniors Association)
Rick Schatz, National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families
Tom Shields, Coalition for Marriage and Family
Mark Sutherland, National Policy Center
C. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Dr. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries
Dr. Gary Cass, Center for Reclaiming America
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon and Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition
Rev. Rick Scarborough, Vision America
Pastor Rod Parsley, Center for Moral Clarity
Rev. William Owens, Coalition of African-American Pastors
Thomas A. Glessner, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates
Robert Peters, Morality in Media
Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
Austin Ruse, Culture of Life Foundation
Joseph A Brinck, Sanctity of Life Foundation
Dr. Patricia McEwen, Life Coalition International
Rev. Miguel Rivera, National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders
J. C. Willke, MD, International Right to Life Federation
Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute
Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach
Helen Chenoweth-Hage and J. Thomas Smith, America 21
Robert R Galbreath Jr., Citizens for a Constitutional Republic
Colin A. Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
Janet L. Folger, Faith2Action
Christopher Carmouche, GrassTopsUSA
Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies
Larry Cirignano, CatholicVote.org
William Greene, RightMarch.com
Mike Krempasky, RedState.org
Brian McCarthy, Irish American Republicans
Gary J. Palmer, Alabama Policy Institute
Dr. Ronald Konopaski, United For Life- San Francisco
Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel
John Stemberger, Florida Family Action, Inc
Michael N. Duff, United Families Idaho
Mary T. Ericksen, Illinois Citizens for Life
Peter LaBarbera, Illinois Family Institute
Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society, Pro-life Law Center (Chicago)
Micah Clark, American Family Association of Indiana
Kim Lehman, Iowa Right to Life Committee
Dr. Don Racheter, Iowa Association of Scholars
Lisa E. Roche, Esq, Maine Right to Life Committee
Douglas P. Stiegler, Family Protection Lobby - Maryland
Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute
Barb Listing, Michigan Right to Life
Gary Glenn, American Family Association of Michigan
Kent Ostrander, The Family Foundation of Kentucky
Gene Mills, Louisiana Family Forum
Steve Lemke, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Karen Testerman, Cornerstone Policy Research
Harry Levine, Victory New Hampshire
Dr. Steven J. Kidder, New York State Family Policy Council, Inc.
Bill Brooks, North Carolina Family Policy Council
Phil Burress, Citizens for Community Values
Pastor Russell Johnson, American Restoration Project
Diane Gramley, American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Rev. Reece Yandle, South Carolina Association of Christian Schools
Oran P. Smith, Palmetto Family Council
Robert E. Regier, South Dakota Family Policy Council
Bobbie Patray, Tennessee Eagle Forum
Dr. Theodore C. Brown, Jr., Richmond, Virginia, Young Republican Federation of VA
Kenneth and Margaret Whitehead, Falls Church Republican Committee (Va)
Dr. Ken Hutcherson, Antioch Bible Church, Redmond, WA
Hiram Lewis, Candidate for U.S. Senate, West Virginia
Mark Coyle, former Communications Director, WV Republican Party
Martha Zoller, Radio host (Georgia)
Chris Dickson. "The Dickson/Chappell Report", (Midwest)
Russell Christian and Frank Vernuccio, Ave Maria School of Law
Jeffrey Lord, author of The Borking Rebellion
A Project of the Third Branch Conference
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