After a four-year delay, a vote -may- come in the U.S. Senate today on one of President Bush’s judicial nominees. While Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is glad Priscilla Owen of Texas will finally get that “up or down” vote, he says the eleventh-hour deal between a dozen or so senators that made it possible is -not- the way to go about it. Grassley says “Twelve senators…or 14…should not be deciding what the other 88 or 86 senators can advise and consent on, in other words, not allow us to exercise our opposition or support for a nomination.” Grassley, a Republican, says several nominees, like Owen, are finally getting their due process, but he says the end does not justify the means. Grassley says “Of course I’m glad that three nominees who’ve been held up for three or four years are getting an up or down vote, but the fact is all qualified nominees deserve an up or down vote.” Grassley says the solution that was reached last night between 14 senators to end the long-running debate is -no- solution. He says the Senate has handled judicial nominees in the up or down vote manner for more than 200 years, but the systematic filibusters in recent years “is an affront to the Constitution and I don’t think should be allowed to stand.” Underthe agreement, Democrats will allow confirmation votes for appeals court nominees Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor. Other nominees will only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, though it’s unclear exactly what those circumstances might entail.
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