Henderson: Compromise Is Victory for Senate Rules

Media 05.23.05

WASHINGTON – In response to the deal struck by a group of bipartisan Senators, Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition issued the following statement:

“The ‘compromise’ announced today is a victory for the rules of the Senate and the balance of power between Congress and the White House. While we are pleased that it takes Senator Frist’s unprecedented “nuclear option” off the table, we are very disappointed that it still allows some of President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees to move forward.

Clearly, a majority of Senators realized the enormous danger posed by the “nuclear option.” Preserving the filibuster and the rules of the Senate is an important victory. This decision prevents a power-hungry White House from imposing its will on our Founding Fathers’ unique system of checks and balances.

The Senate has demonstrated that it can step back from the brink and achieve bi-partisan cooperation and consensus. Such consultation and consensus must continue in the fight to preserve the independence of the judiciary. The Senate must reject the Far Right’s favorite and ideologically litmus-tested judicial nominees.

Senators who want to appease the Far Right should think twice. Public opinion polls clearly demonstrate that ordinary Americans want mainstream judges. LCCR and its allies will fight for every single vote in the Senate to oppose the President’s flawed nominees. We will urge senators to oppose those out-of-the-mainstream nominees who are committed to turning back the clock on sixty years of progress in protecting civil rights, privacy rights, reproductive rights, the environment, and workers.

Thankfully, the Republican leadership’s strategy for creating a fully compliant Senate has failed. Cooler Senate heads must now preserve the independence of the judiciary. And while the battle over the Supreme Court looms on the horizon, we are hopeful that going forward President Bush recognizes, as his predecessors have, that America prefers nominees who are in, not outside, the mainstream.