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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Press Release

National Conservation & Native American Groups Oppose the “Nuclear Option”

Changing the rules for judicial nominees would undermine environmental protections

April 28, 2005


Cat Lazaroff, 202-667-4500 x 213

Washington, DC-- The leaders of 17 conservation and Native American groups, including Earthjustice, sent a letter to the Senate today urging opposition to any rule change that would eliminate the right of Senators to filibuster judicial nominees.

"Safeguarding our nation's citizens from air and water pollution, as well as protecting our fish and wildlife and National Parks, forests, and other wildlands for future generations, depends on fair and independent judges," the groups wrote. "Americans rely on the Senate to deny lifetime judicial seats to nominees who would place ideology ahead of the fair interpretation of our nation's statutes and the U.S. Constitution."

For more than 200 years, Senate rules have permitted filibusters of judicial nominees to prevent any one political party from ramming through nominees who would place politic agendas ahead of the fundamental rights of the American people. Unfortunately, the handful of President Bush's nominees who have been blocked by filibusters includes several whose records prove that they have consistently favored corporate interests over clean air and safe drinking water.

While legislation can always be amended or repealed, and executive branch appointments last only as long as the current presidency, once the Senate confirms a judge to a lifetime seat on our courts, that decision is irrevocable. Allowing these unqualified and patently biased nominees to sit on the federal bench would threaten environmental safeguards for decades to come.