Statement of Democratic Leader Harry Reid
There is good news for every American in this agreement. The so-called ³nuclear option² is off the table. This is a significant victory for our country, for democracy, and for all Americans. Checks and balances in our government have been preserved.
The integrity of future Supreme Courts has been protected from the undueinfluences of a vocal, radical faction of the right that is completely out of step with mainstream America. That was the intent of the Republican ³nuclear option² from the beginning. Tonight, the Senate has worked its will on behalf of reason, responsibility and the greater good.
We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical arm of the Republican base an undeniable message: Abuse of power will not be tolerated, and attempts to trample the Constitution and grab absolute control are over. We are a separate and equal branch of government. That is our founding fathers¹ vision, and one we hold dear.
I offered Senator Frist several options similar to this compromise, and while he was not able to agree, I am pleased that some responsible Republicans and my colleagues were able to put aside there differences and work from the center. I do not support several of the judges that have been agreed to because their views and records display judicial activism that jeopardize individual rights and freedoms. But other troublesome nominees have been turned down. And, most importantly, the U.S. Senate retains the checks and balances to ensure all voices are heard in our democracy and the
Supreme Court make-up cannot be decided by a simple majority.
I am grateful to my colleagues who brokered this deal. Now, we can move beyond this time-consuming process that has deteriorated the comity of this great institution. I am hopeful that we can quickly turn to work on the people¹s business. We need to ensure our troops have the resources they need to fight in Iraq and that Americans are free from terrorism. We need to protect retiree¹s pensions and long-term security. We need to expand health care opportunities for all families. We need to address rising gasoline prices and energy independence. And we need to restore fiscal responsibility and rebuild our economy so that it lifts all American workers. That is our reform agenda, the people¹s reform agenda. Together, we can get the job done.
Look, I know you might think “we” didn’t get enough from this, but it is a huge loss for the Religious Right. HUGE. And it means you and me can worry a bit less about the Right forcing us to pray (their way) and things like that.
The country just dodged a bullet.
Update – Crooks and Liars documents how unhappy the Right is about this.
Update II – My feeling is that this presents an opportunity to parade Judge Owen’s record in front of a public that will nowbe paying more attention. Her record makes the Repubicans look really, really bad. I’m still on my way home from a late business meeting and will try to post more on this tomorrow. Until then, see TalkLeft, Body and Soul and a Kos post for some of her record.
Update III – Home at last (10:30pm…) Scanning comments earlier and now, and listening to the radio talk shows while I drove, I think there is something that people are missing. I think the Republican “nuclear option” is gone now — off the table. After this it doesn’t have the credibility to re-enter the picture and they can’t try this again. What would be the point, knowing there are enough senators willing to find a way not to do it? It was a months-long buildup and in the end it failed. For the far-right it was never about these judges. It was about getting rid of the last check and balance in our system so they could get even more of their judges and Supreme Court nominees in place, and then getting rid of the filibuster altogeher (find me an argument they used here that doesn’t apply to the filibuster generally), and they failed. Any individual Senator can still filibuster any judicial nomination.
Steve Soto says The Center Finally Held,
“Not only did they [Senate moderates] emerge, but the elder statesmen from both parties (Warner and Byrd) stepped in and took the car keys away from Frist and to a degree, from Cheney.
[. . .] The moderate center finally got tired tonight of what they were being force-fed from the White House and the American Taliban, and took back control.
[. . .] the vast majority of the public only really cares about judges when a Supreme Court nomination is pending that will change the ideological balance on the court. Reid preserved the beachhead on that tonight.”