It’s Monday lunch already! Here are a few bits to chew on.
Not a milestone that many care to mark, but today is the 35th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre. You can read Tim Cahill’s chilling tale of the incident, “In the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” here.
Speaking of governors, our own Pat McCrory high-tailed it out to California, visiting Google and then Facebook today. You, too, can join the governor this afternoon at 5:30 as he answers questions on his own Facebook page.
And speaking of Republicans, watch this afternoon as U.S. senators of that persuasion are expected to complete their filibuster hat trick, preventing Robert Wilkins from receiving an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor on his nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Wilkins will be the third of President Obama’s three pending nominees to that court to get the cold shoulder from some of the same senators who vowed in previous years to never use the filibuster to veto a judicial nominee.
Here’s our own Sen. Richard Burr in 2005:
I believe if one of my colleagues objects to a particular nominee, it is certainly appropriate and fair for my colleague to vote against that nominee on the floor of the Senate. But denying judicial nominees of both parties, who seek to serve their country, an up-or-down vote, simply is not fair. It was certainly not the intention of our Founding Fathers when they designed and created this very institution.
And here’s a few more, courtesy of Think Progress:
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution requires it.”
Tom Coburn (R-OK): “If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent. That means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee. And that happened for 200 years.”
John Cornyn (R-TX): “We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his judicial nominations.
Mike Crapo (R-ID): “Until this Congress, not one of the President’s nominees has been successfully filibustered in the Senate of the United States because of the understanding of the fact that the Constitution gives the President the right to a vote.”
Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I think filibustering judges will destroy the judiciary over time. I think it’s unconstitutional”
Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of judges from 51 to 60, and that’s essentially what we’d be doing if the Democrats were going to filibuster.”
Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation.”
Jeff Sessions (R- AL): “[The Constitution] says the Senate shall advise and consent on treaties by a two-thirds vote, and simply ‘shall advise and consent’ on nominations…. I think there is no doubt the Founders understood that to mean … confirmation of a judicial nomination requires only a simple majority vote.”
Richard Shelby (R-AL): “Why not allow the President to do his job of selecting judicial nominees and let us do our job in confirming or denying them? Principles of fairness call for it and the Constitution requires it.”
John Thune (SD): Filibustering judicial nominees “is contrary to our Constitution …. It was the Founders’ intention that the Senate dispose of them with a simple majority vote.”