Monday, April 25, 2005

It's the "unconstitutional" option

With all the lies emanating from the religious right, perhaps the most egregious current lie is that ending the filibuster is a "Constitutional Option."

Focus on the Family Action has launched an ad campaign in 15 states, urging calls to U.S. senators in support of an up-or-down vote on President Bush's judicial nominees. As we've witnessed for the last three years, Senate Democrats are again planning to filibuster the president's well-qualified nominees. Republican senators, however, are expected to soon take action to end judicial filibusters. (This action is called the "Constitutional Option" because it would restore the constitutional responsibility of senators to vote, and by a majority, confirm the president’s judicial nominees.)

As Modern Esquire points out, though,

It's already established Supreme Court precedent that the Senate may delegate its constitutional authority to a Senate committee or subcommittee. See, Nixon v. United States, 506 U.S. 224, 113 S.Ct. 732 (1993). So, this is yet again, another GOP misrepresentation on the issue. The U.S. Constitution does not mandate that each and every nominee receive a vote from the full Senate. If that was so, does that mean that the subsequent appointments made as a result of GOP's success in denying Clinton nominees are invalid and that the Clinton appointees denied a floor vote or, as in some cases, even a hearing, should be considered duly appointed?

Given that the Constitution states that the houses of Congress are free to determine the rules of its proceedings (Section 5, clause 2) and in fact does not state that a majority of representatives or Senators be needed tp pass anything, (but only states majorities are needed to establish a quorum, and there's the 2/3 rules for treaties, amendments, expulsion and veto-overriding) it is clear that Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, etc. is simply lying.

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