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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Infinite Wisdom Of The Founders

It Is The Senate’s Constitutional Right To Act As A Check On A President And Withhold Its Consent’

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): ‘The Founding Fathers… wanted the Senate, in its infinite wisdom, to be a check—a real check, not a rubberstamp’ “…the longer I am around, the more I respect the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. In their infinite wisdom, they wanted judges to interpret law, not make it; they wanted the Senate, in its infinite wisdom, to be a check—a real check, not a rubberstamp...” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.14096, 11/6/03)

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “…it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on a President and withhold its consent.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 3/16/16)

SEN. SCHUMER: ‘The Idea That ‘It's My Way Or No Way’ Is Not Going To Work’
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “The idea that ‘It's my way or no way’ is not going to work. Furthermore, I would argue to my colleagues, it is not what the Founding Fathers wanted. If they wanted the President to appoint judges unilaterally, they would have said so in the Constitution. But they wanted the Senate to have a say. … have judges never been blocked? All the time. One out of every five Supreme Court nominees did not make it to the Supreme Court. That is part of the tradition of this country.” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S. 5396, 5/18/2005)

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “It is difficult to imagine that after four attempts to exclude the President from the selection process [at the Constitutional Convention], the Framers intended anything less than the broadest role for the Senate-in choosing the Court and checking the President in every way.” (Sen. Biden, Congressional Record, S.16308, 6/25/1992)

SEN. LEAHY: ‘The Constitution Expressly Speaks Of The Senate’s … Power To ‘Consent,’ Which Includes The Power To Withhold Such Consent’

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): ‘The Senate's role in the process is not secondary and is not confined simply to a vote. The Constitution expressly speaks of the Senate's … power to ‘consent,’ which includes the power to withhold such consent’ “The Constitution divides the appointment power between the President and the Senate and expects Senators to advise the President, not just rubber-stamp his choices. In fact, for most of the Constitutional Convention the Founders had assigned the constitutional power to appoint judges exclusively to the Senate. Toward the end of the convention, as part of the system of checks and balances, the appointment power was shared between the Senate and the President. Shortly afterward, William Maclay noted this in his famous journal: ‘Whoever attends strictly to the Constitution of the United States will readily observe that the part assigned to the Senate was an important one - no less than that of being the great check, the regulator and corrector, or, if I may so speak, the balance of this government. ...’ The Senate's role in the process is not secondary and is not confined simply to a vote. The Constitution expressly speaks of the Senate's authority to ‘advise’ as well as the power to ‘consent,’ which includes the power to withhold such consent.” (Sen. Leahy, Remarks At The National Press Club, 6/25/03)
  • LEAHY: “The Constitution, as we know, gives the Senate a central role in the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice. Nothing in our makeup, nothing in the history of this country assumes that the Senate would be a rubber stamp for the President’s nominees. After all, it was the Senate that turned down some nominees of George Washington—the most popular President and the greatest President in this country’s history—because it would not be a rubber stamp. It was an overwhelmingly Democratically controlled Senate at the time of Franklin Roosevelt, and it was that Senate that said to Franklin Roosevelt: You cannot pack the Supreme Court. I have said, also, many times that the Senate should be the conscience of the Nation. After all, we are the only 100 people in this country of 295 million Americans who get a chance to vote on lifetime positions to the Supreme Court—people who will affect our personal rights for decades to come.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.238, 1/27/06)
  • LEAHY: “To preserve the independence of the judiciary, the Senate has served its time honored role as a check on the presidential appointment power. The Constitution says advice and consent, not rubber stamp.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.11830, 11/20/04)
SEN. REID: ‘Nowhere In That Document Does It Say The Senate Has A Duty To Give Presidential Nominees A Vote’

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “The duties of the United States Senate are set forth in the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give Presidential nominees a vote. It says appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. That’s very different than saying every nominee receives a vote.” (Sen. Reid, Floor Remarks, 5/19/2005; VIDEO Here

SEN. REID:‘There Is Not A Number [Of Hours] In The Universe That Would Be Sufficient’ To Debate Some Nominees

SEN. BOB BENNETT (R-UT): “Mr. President, I ask if any number of hours [for debate on the Priscilla Owen nomination] would be sufficient for the Senator from Nevada.” SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “Speaking for the Senator from Nevada, there is not a number in the universe that would be sufficient.” (Sens. Bennett & Reid, Congressional Record, S.4949, 4/8/03)

JOE BIDEN: ‘Stanley Matthews' Supreme Court Nomination Failed Without Getting A Vote’

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “It is also instructive to look at a few historical examples.” (Sen. Biden, Congressional Record, S.4359-60, 4/27/05)
  • BIDEN: “In 1881, Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes nominated Stanley Matthews to the Supreme Court. A filibuster was mounted, but the Republican majority in the Senate was unable to break the filibuster, and Stanley Matthews' Supreme Court nomination failed without getting a vote.” (Sen. Biden, Congressional Record, S.4359-60, 4/27/05)

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