Harry Reid goes nuclear for justice in America

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has begun a major battle for justice in America by winning changes in procedure that will end the worst abuse of Senate rules in American history by Republicans in the upper chamber. It will end their egregious attack against justice through constant filibusters against presidential nominees to fill an alarming number of vacancies on federal courts.

I strongly support the move by Reid to change the rules of the Senate and allow presidential nominations to proceed by majority vote. Obstructive Republican filibusters have discredited the Senate and contributed mightily to the public disapproval of Congress by 90 percent of Americans.

ADVERTISEMENT
Just in recent weeks, Senate Republicans have filibustered three superbly qualified presidential nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals after having previously filibustered a fourth highly qualified nominee for this court, who became so appalled by this abuse that she withdrew her name from consideration.

The GOP excuse for these filibusters, after previous excuses had been discredited, that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has a light caseload and does not need a full court, is one of the most transparently dishonest, shameful and fraudulent arguments in modern history.

Senate Republicans seek to pack the court by preventing nominees from a Democratic president from being confirmed. When Republican presidents offered nominees to this court, Senate Republicans did not mention the canard of the caseload.

No, the plan of the Senate Republicans is to pack this court by preventing confirmations, failing to fulfill the constitutional responsibility of the Senate to confirm judicial nominations and failing to respect the constitutional duty of the president to offer those nominations.

I applaud Reid for taking this bold and principled stand. His leadership is a profile in courage for justice in America.

Reid did everything humanly possible to avoid changing the Senate rules, but the obstruction and arrogance of Senate Republicans in recent days was several bridges too far. It was time to act, and Reid, to his great credit, acted.

It is now time to fill every judicial vacancy on the federal bench, which is what the Constitution requires and American justice demands.