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Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Grassley on procedural delays
(Republican - Iowa) 08/22/14
Republicans have shown no indication they will relent on their demand for procedural votes on most nominees that are guaranteed to be OK‘d by Democrats only hours later, a practice that slows the Senate to a crawl. “We’ve been successful in doing that so far,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the GOP’s top gun on judicial issues. “I’ve suggested it and the caucus has backed it up.”

Sen. Grassley Floor Statement on D.C. Circuit and opposing confirmation of Pamela Harris to Fourth Circuit
(Republican - Iowa) 07/28/14
" So now after the other side has succeeded in stacking the DC Circuit, Democratic appointees outnumber Republican appointees by a 7-to-4 majority among active judges.... Professor Harris is being fast-tracked to the Fourth Circuit just in time for another en banc appeal, should one materialize.... Professor Harris is a rock-solid vote for saving ObamaCare's unlawful subsidy regime"

Sen. Hatch Floor Statement on State of the Senate
(Republican - Utah) 07/28/14
"Last November the majority leader claimed there had been 168 filibusters on executive and judicial nominations. The majority leader used this supposedly unprecedented level of confirmation obstruction to take the drastic step of abolishing extended debate altogether using the so-called nuclear option. But the majority leader was counting cloture motions, not filibusters. A cloture motion is simply a request to end debate. A filibuster occurs when the debate cannot be ended because the cloture vote fails. In fact, most of those were not filibusters; they were falsely called that. There have been only 14 filibusters of President Obama's nominees, and that practice was on a decline. The Senate, in fact, confirmed 98 percent of President Obama's nominees. There was never a problem there. The majority leader's current opposition to filibustering Democratic nominees is simply impossible to reconcile with the 26 times he voted to filibuster Republican nominees."

Sen. Paul Issues Statement on Barron Nomination
(Republican - Kentucky) 05/15/14
"I shall not only oppose the nomination of David Barron, but will filibuster"

Sen. Hatch Floor Speech "Highlights Repeated Abuses of Executive Authority by the Obama Administration"
(Republican - Utah) 04/30/14
"After the D.C. Circuit rightfully invalidated several key Administration actions as outside the bounds of federal law, the President sought to pack that court with compliant judges in order to obtain more favorable decisions."

Sen. Hatch Op-Ed: Protect the Senate’s important 'advice and consent' role
(Republican - Utah) 04/11/14
"The filibuster allows a minority of senators to delay a confirmation vote by preventing an end to debate. The so-called “blue slip” process allows senators from the state in which a judicial nominee would serve to influence whether that nominee is considered by the Judiciary Committee."

Sen. Cornyn on Michelle Friedland and other Judicial Nominations
(Republican - Texas) 04/10/14
"The history of most nominations is there's been a lot of bipartisan cooperation to process non-controversial nominations," Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told the Washington Examiner after the floor fight. "This one, there is some controversy associated with it." ... "What happens is the majority leader wants to break the Senate rules, which they did by invoking the nuclear option, and then when we're trying to apply the rules allowing for 30 hours [debate] post-cloture, he somehow thinks that's an unreasonable position," Cornyn said. "So, I think there'd be a lot more bipartisan cooperation, so everybody could be accommodated, but for the extreme position taken on the nuclear option."

WHY WON’T REPUBLICAN SENATE LEADERS ALLOW FLOOR VOTES ON 24 PENDING JUDICIAL NOMINEES ALL GOP HOME-STATE SENATORS SUPPORT?
(Republican - Maine, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Kansas, Wisconsin) 04/04/14
17 Republican U.S. Senators from 12 states support 24 pending district and appeals court nominees & re-nominees (originally nominated last year) who would fill vacancies in their states

Sen. Crapo Floor Statement: Owens Nomination
(Republican - Idaho) 03/27/14
"Judge Trott took senior status on December 31, 2004, making the Trott seat the longest current vacancy of any seat on the Federal circuit courts.... This dispute is not about the qualifications of Mr. Owens. He has been rated unanimously well qualified by the American Bar Association, and I would be happy to work with the California delegation to support his nomination for the next California vacancy on the Ninth Circuit. But I cannot support a process that is the result of an unfair breaking of the Senate's rules in order to push through a nominee that takes away a seat that has been an Idaho seat on the Ninth Circuit for 25 years, leaving Idaho with only one seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Sadly, because of the Senate Democrats' rule change, the Idaho delegation will not have the opportunity to stop this effort. Therefore, I will vote no on this nomination, and my hope is that, if confirmed, Mr. Owens will make the same decision that Judge Trott did 25 years ago by also choosing to maintain his chambers in Idaho."

Sen. Hatch Floor Statement
(Republican - Utah) 03/11/14
"I express my strong support for the nomination of Carolyn B. McHugh to the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.... I do have to say that this nomination could have been confirmed months ago.... The possibility of a filibuster had two effects. First, it suggested to the President that he might want to send more moderate nominees to the Senate. Second, it prompted the minority to cooperate with the majority in confirming noncontroversial nominees. ...Part of the process we used to have would have been confirming additional nominations before adjourning the first session of the Congress. The nomination before us would have been confirmed that way months ago--as well as a whole raft of other judges that we are now voting on ad seriatim. Instead, we are forced to do things in this new way. ... I wrote a Law Review article a number of years ago that I did not believe we should filibuster judicial nominations at all. That is why I voted ``present'' on so many of the President's judges, but there is no reason for me to do that anymore because the Democrats have changed the rules. They have broken the rules to change the rules, and so I might as well vote no along with the rest of the Republicans on some of these nominees--just as an expression that we don't like the way the Democrats are handling this matter. I have been, in the last few days, changing from ``present'' to no or yes depending upon the person."

Sen. Hatch on cloture votes to end filibusters of judicial nominations
(Republican - Utah) 02/24/14
"They abused the rules, and our side is not happy about it," Hatch said after the first cloture vote. Hatch said he expects the pattern of cloture before confirmation will follow on future judicial nominations, regardless of an actual filibuster threat. "I think things are going to get even worse," Hatch said.

Sen. Alexander: better for country to confirm judicial nominations as they come up; "they’re piling up. It concerns me,”
(Republican - Tennessee) 02/18/14
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, one of the leading GOP voices in the world of rules and precedents, said he would prefer that Reid just go ahead and get the procedural gears in motion. “I think it would be better for the Senate and the country if he would go ahead and confirm the nominations as they come up,” Alexander said, noting that new debate limits on lower-level positions established at the start of the current Congress mean more nominations can be moved in the course of a few days.... Alexander said he doesn’t think the events of last November should totally put the brakes on the confirmation process. “I mean, they’re piling up. It concerns me,” Alexander said of pending nominations. “We could work Mondays; we could work Fridays.” ... “I think the whole event in November was a manufactured crisis just to get three circuit judges, but there’s no need to perpetuate that,” Alexander said. “The ball’s in [Reid's] court. He can bring … any other district judge up, file cloture, wait one day and he can bring 10 up at a time if he wants to.”

Sen. Grassley Floor objection to Sen. Pryor request to vote on Arkansas judicial nominations
(Republican - Iowa) 02/12/14
"Three Democrats voted against it. I have to give credit to the Senator from Arkansas who has made this unanimous consent to be one of those who thought the minority should not be cut out of the process."

Sen. Alexander Floor Statement
(Republican - Tennessee) 01/13/14
"There is a new book out which I mentioned on the floor the other day. My guess is it will become the leading history of this body. It is written by the former Senate Historian, Richard Baker, and the late Neil MacNeil, who wrote what many consider to be the best history of the House of Representatives. They say in the book that the genius I just talked about--``the authentic touch of genius that is the Senate''--the major reason for that is the opportunity for extended debate. They point out, as I think any of us would, that there have been abuses with the filibuster, more delays than are necessary; that the Senate doesn't work as well as it should ... There have been abuses of the filibuster. It is true that some Republicans have unduly delayed nominations and unduly delayed legislation. ...there were not very many people on the Executive Calendar, and we had changed the rules to make it easier to confirm them, anyway. There were 13 district judges, so the majority leader could bring them up on Thursday--Friday is the intervening day--and Monday there could be 2 hours of debate on each judge, and we could confirm four or five by doing it over the weekend in that way."

Sen. Lee Floor Statement on Wilkins Nomination
(Republican - Utah) 01/13/14
"We just confirmed Judge Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. I voted against this judge. In doing that, I joined my Republican colleagues for one simple reason. Several years ago, when President George W. Bush was in the White House, he nominated an eminently qualified lawyer named Peter Keisler who had bipartisan support. ...Since that time, if anything, the DC Circuit's caseload per judge has remained about the same or some would argue has gone down a little, depending on which metric you use."

Sen. Grassley Statement at Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Republican - Iowa) 12/19/13
"All the judicial nominations on the agenda appear for the first time, and we request they be held over."

Sen. Grassley Responds to Chairman Leahy's statement on Judiciary Committee matters
(Republican - Iowa) 12/18/13
“The so-called obstruction of nominees is a figment of the Democrats’ imagination."

Sen. Lamar Alexander calls Senate rule decision 'Obamacare II'
(Republican - Tennessee) 12/08/13
This is the same kind of power play. There was no justification for this.” On how this is different from when Republicans under former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist considered the same option in 2005 “The difference is he didn’t do it,” Alexander said of his fellow Tennessean. “The reason he didn’t was because Harry Reid said it would be the end of the Senate. ... We agreed we wouldn’t do that. We would only block nominees by cloture, by filibuster, in extraordinary circumstances.”

Sen. Cruz: Senate Triggered Nuclear Option To Pack D.C. Cirucit & Distract From Obamacare
(Republican - Texas) 12/05/13
"The nuclear option was a blatant abuse of power. It was designed really to do two things. Number one, to change the topic from Obamacare," Cruz said Thursday during a speech at an American Legislative Exchange Council event. The second thing, Cruz continued, had to do with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats have pushed back on the court-packing argument, saying that Republicans had no problem confirming D.C. Circuit Court nominations under a Republican president. "The nuclear option was directed exactly at that because it was directed at three judges on the D.C. Circuit [Court], the circuit that hears most of the challenges to the abuse of executive authority on Obamacare and everything else," Cruz said. "Right now the D.C. circuit is evenly split with Republican nominees and Democratic nominees and what Harry Reid is trying to do is pack it with additional judges they believe will rubber stamp the president's agenda."

Sen. Alexander on pending district court nominee Pamela Reeves
(Republican - Tennessee) 12/05/13
In a meeting with News Sentinel editors and reporters this week, Sen. Lamar Alexander said all that is needed is for Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule a vote. Alexander said he sees no reason why Reeves would not be confirmed, noting that no district court nominee has ever been blocked by a filibuster. “It’s up to Harry Reid,” Alexander said. “All he has to do is bring her name up. I know of no problem with Pam. I’ve met with her. The way you get confirmation is, the Democratic leader makes a motion to confirm and I don’t know any reason why she wouldn’t be.”

Sen. Isakson on filibuster change and home-state senator "blue slips"
(Republican - Georgia) 12/04/13
Isakson said he believes the vote by Senate Democrats to change voting on many appointments to a simple majority is largely a flexing of power. He said the vote was an effort on the part of Reid “to make it look like the Republicans were being obstructionist.” ... Isakson noted the majority vote rule applies to judicial nominees other than the Supreme Court and to federal bureaucracy appointments. He said the “blue slip” rule, which allows senators to hold up confirmation of any nominee, is still in place. He said the change amounts to “a partial loosening of the rules to strengthen the majority’s hands.” Democrats could have completely eliminated the 60 percent requirement and the blue slip rule if that had been their goal, he said.

Sens. Casey & Toomey
(Democrat, Republican - Pennsylvania) 11/22/13
Democrat Bob Casey of Scranton and Republican Pat Toomey of Lehigh Valley told the Tribune-Review their opposite opinions would not bruise their ability to work together on executive and judicial nominees. Casey said he and Toomey “have developed a successful bipartisan process to recommend highly qualified individuals to the White House,” and those candidates were confirmed “by strong majorities in the Senate.” “Pennsylvanians expect and deserve to have two senators who work together to place highly capable jurists on the bench, who are fair and uphold high ethical standards,” he said. Toomey said their working relationship will transcend the rule change. Since 2011, Toomey supported Obama's three judicial nominees; two are Western Pennsylvanians and filling the vacancies was overdue, he said at the time.

Sen. Wicker Statement on the ‘Nuclear Option’
(Republican - Mississippi) 11/21/13
“The raw abuse of power being displayed by Senate Democrats is reminiscent of their purely partisan efforts to pass Obamacare four years ago. Further, they have tarnished the integrity of the institution by ignoring 225 years of precedent and trampling the rights of the minority party and the millions of Americans we represent. The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be the most deliberative legislative body the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, actions taken today by the majority party have upended the chamber’s tradition of thoughtful and reasoned legislating.”

Sen. Ayotte Statement Regarding "Nuclear Option"
(Republican - New Hampshire) 11/21/13
""The Democrats' vote to invoke the ‘nuclear option' and fundamentally change the rules of the Senate is a raw power grab which is deeply disappointing.... The Senate has a constitutional advice and consent role when it comes to the president's nominees, and Senate rules have long protected the rights of the minority party. At a time when Americans want members of both parties to be working together, this partisan power play will only further inflame the partisan divide in Washington. ... I welcomed the opportunity to meet personally with Patricia Millett, and was impressed by her legal credentials, and I certainly appreciate her experiences as a military spouse. But given the DC Circuit's declining caseload, the addition of a new judge to this bench isn't justified."

Sen. Heller Statement on Use of “Nuclear Option” in U.S. Senate
(Republican - Nevada) 11/21/13
“This is a sad day for the United States Senate, and a scary day for Nevada. While today we are discussing nominations, what assurances are there that today’s changes will not apply to future legislation?"

Sen. Johanns: Reid’s Action Muzzles Voices of Nebraskans in Senate
(Republican - Nebraska) 11/21/13
“We’re talking about lifetime appointments to the bench, and this change will allow the most radical of nominees to be confirmed. This is about Senate Democrats issuing a gag order on the voices of the minority, just to direct attention away from the disastrous health care law.”