Last year the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck-down President Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recess appointments, which weren’t made during recess. President Obama, in his zeal to punish the private sector for engaging in free-market enterprise, used the NLRB to attack American companies, including Boeing, which decided to set-up shop right here in South Carolina. I’m sure that the company’s decision to relocate into a right-to-work, conservative stronghold like South Carolina had nothing to do with the President’s decision to pack the NLRB with pro-union zealots. Right? Regardless of the reasons, that’s exactly what he did. The problem with the whole procedure is that the President decided that the Senate was in “recess,” even though the Senate had not declared itself in recess. Thus, the President usurped power from the Senate, by determining on his own when it is and is not in session.
The DC Circuit Court agreed that this was a stunning overreach of executive authority, and ruled that the appointments were, in fact, illegal as they were made without Senate consent at a time the Senate was in session. Well, as one might imagine, the White House was fuming mad, and now the President has put Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) in charge of retaliation. Senator Reid is seeking to aid the President in packing the DC Circuit Court with committed leftists, by running roughshod over Senate rules for filibusters and confirmation votes. Traditionally, Presidential appointments are subject to filibusters by the opposition party, which the
Democrats routinely used against conservative judicial nominees put forth by former President George W. Bush. In fact, Senate Democrats filibustered the nomination of Miguel Estrada, a conservative Hispanic attorney, to fill a vacancy on the same DC Circuit Court that President Obama now seeks to pack with liberal ideologues. Estrada was exceptionally well-qualified, but Senate Democrats could not stomach the thought of a conservative Latino on the Federal bench, and they effectively killed his chances at confirmation.
In the aftermath of such tactics by the Democrats, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) sought a “nuclear option,” which would forbid a filibuster against judicial nominations. While I understood Senator Frist’s frustration, many Republicans, myself included, rightly worried what blocking the filibuster would mean if we were in the minority in the Senate again (which we would be by 2008). The filibuster is a debate tactic that requires a supermajority (60 votes of 100 in the Senate) to advance an agenda item for debate. This is designed to ensure that the minority party has a voice in the ongoing deliberations of the Senate. Senator Frist wanted to change the rules of confirmation to abolish the filibuster, something Harry Reid and his fellow Senate Democrats howled about at the time.
Now, Senator Reid is proposing the same sort of crazy filibuster change while his party is in power. This would undermine any effort by conservatives in the Senate to stop radical appointments to the Federal Bench from being properly vetted. Senate Democrats, under the direction of Senator Reid, would merely rubber-stamp the President’s preferences, and circuit courts like the DC Circuit Court would be subject to political retaliation by the White House for seeking to invoke the concept of checks and balances under our Constitution.
Please, call Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, our South Carolina Senate Delegation, and encourage them to stand against Harry Reid’s political power grab. Tell them to vote “NO” to Reid’s proposal to protect the President’s nominees from even the possibility of a filibuster. Checks and balances must be maintained.
Senator Lindsey Graham – Upstate Regional Office
130 South Main Street, 7th Floor
Greenville, SC 29601
Main: (864) 250-1417
Senator Tim Scott – Upstate Regional Office
40 W. Broad Street, Suite 320