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THE NUCLEAR OPTION
Democrats open fire, citing numerous GOP senators who have blocked nominees

Some senators filibustered more than 10

RAW STORY

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One thing is for certain: On the filibuster, Democrats aren't taking it lying down.

As Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) works to negotiate with Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Democrats circulated a document Monday detailing each of the Republican senators who had ever filibustered or blocked a nominee.

The filibuster is a process by which 40 senators can veto a bill or nominee. Democrats have 44 members in the Senate, and are thereby able—when unified—to prevent a Bush judicial nominee from being confirmed.

Some senators, like Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), have filibustered as many as 13 nominees.

Republicans contend that Democrats have sought to block nominees based on their faith. Democrats have allowed for the confirmation of more than 200 of about 240 nominees put forth by President Bush.

The document follows.

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Lamar Alexander (TN)

SENATOR ALEXANDER’S RECORD

• Senator Alexander has never voted against cloture on a nominee.

Wayne Allard (CO)

Senator Allard blocked two of Clinton’s judicial nominees from receiving an up-or-down vote: James Lyons, 10th Circuit-Colorado and Patricia Coan, a District Court nominee.


SENATOR ALLARD’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster three Clinton nominees – two for judicial appointments: Marsha Berzon and Richard Paez Also voted to filibuster executive nominee David Satcher.

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


George Allen (VA)

SENATOR ALLEN’S RECORD:

• Senator Allen has never voted against cloture on a nomination

Robert Bennett (UT)

SENATOR BENNETT’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 13 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice) and 5 State Department nominees.

Christopher Bond (MO)


SENATOR BOND’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster nine Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Henry Foster (twice), and five State Department nominees

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

• Voted against cloture on the nomination of Melissa F. Wells to be Ambassador to Mozambique in 1987.

Sam Brownback (KS)


SENATOR BROWNBACK’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster three Clinton nominees – two for judicial appointments: Marsha Berzon and Richard Paez Also voted to filibuster executive nominee David Satcher.


• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Jim Bunning (KY)


SENATOR BUNNING’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster two Clinton judicial nominees: Marsha Berzon and Richard Paez


Conrad Burns (MT)

SENATOR BURNS’ RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 10 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Henry Foster (twice), David Satcher, and 5 State Department nominees

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

Richard Burr (NC)

SENATOR BURR’S RECORD

• Senator Burr has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Lincoln Chafee (RI)


SENATOR CHAFEE’S RECORD:

• Senator Chafee has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Saxby Chambliss (GA)

SENATOR CHAMBLISS RECORD:

• Senator Chambliss has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Tom Coburn (OK)

SENATOR COBURN’S RECORD

• Senator Coburn has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Thad Cochran (MS)


SENATOR COCHRAN’S RECORD

• Voted to filibuster 11 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), and 5 State Dept nominees en bloc.


• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Norm Coleman (MN)

SENATOR COLEMAN’S RECORD:

• Senator Coleman has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

 

Susan Collins (ME)

SENATOR COLLINS’ RECORD

• Senator Collins has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

John Cornyn (TX)

SENATOR CONRYN’S RECORD:

• Senator Cornyn has never voted against cloture on a nomination.


Larry Craig (ID)

SENATOR CRAIG’S RECORD


• Voted to filibuster 13 Clinton nominees (executive and judicial): Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), Marsha Berzon, Richard Paez and five State Department nominees.

• Two of these votes for filibusters were for judicial nominees: Berzon and Paez


• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Michael Crapo (ID)

SENATOR CRAPO’S RECORD:

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

Jim DeMint (SC)

SENATOR DEMINT’S RECORD

Senator DeMint has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Mike DeWine (OH)


SENATOR DEWINE’S RECORD:


• Voted to filibuster three Clinton nominees (executive and judicial): Henry Foster (twice), Marsha Berzon and Richard Paez

• Two of the filibuster votes were for judicial nominees: Berzon and Paez to the 9th Circuit on 3/8/00.

• Voted to block two nominees: Marsha Berzon and Richard Paez

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Elizabeth Dole (NC)

SENATOR DOLE’S RECORD:

• Senator Dole has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Pete Domenici (NM)


SENATOR DOMENICI’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 10 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), and five State Department nominees

• Voted to filibuster the nomination of Stephen G. Breyer to the Appellate Court in 1980.

• Voted to filibuster the nominations of William A. Lubbers and Don Alan Zimmerman to the NLRB in 1980.

John Ensign (NV)

SENATOR ENSIGN’S RECORD:

• Senator Ensign has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Michael Enzi (WY)


SENATOR ENZI’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster three Clinton nominees (judicial and executive): David Satcher, Marsha Berzon, and Richard Paez.

• Two of the filibuster votes were for judicial nominees: Berzon and Paez to the 9th Circuit on 3/8/00.

Bill Frist (TN)

SENATOR FRIST’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster one Clinton judicial nominee: Richard Paez.

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Lindsey Graham (SC)

SENATOR GRAHAM’S RECORD:

• Senator Graham has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Chuck Grassley (IA)


Senator Grassley blocked the nomination of Clinton nominee, J. Rich Leonard to the 4th Cir. – NC. Leonard never received an up-or-down vote.


SENATOR GRASSLEY’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 11 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), David Satcher, and 5 State Department nominees.

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

• Voted to filibuster the nomination of Melissa F. Wells to be Ambassador to Mozambique in 1987

• Voted against cloture on the nomination of William Verity, Jr. to be Secretary of Commerce in 1987.


Judd Gregg (NH)


SENATOR GREGG’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 11 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), and 5 State Department nominees

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Chuck Hagel (NE)

SENATOR HAGEL’S RECORD

• Senator Hagel has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Orrin Hatch (UT)

Senator Hatch: “…the confirmation process is not a numbers game, and I will not compromise the Senate's advice and consent function simply because the White House has sent us nominees that are either not qualified or controversial. There are a range of factors which make a nominee controversial or difficult to confirm, such as lack of experience or questionable information contained in materials not in the public domain or in their past records that may be at variance with the proper role of judges in society.” [144 Cong Rec S 12962, Oct. 21, 1998]


Blocked the nomination of Clinton nominee, Helene White to the 6th Circuit-Michigan

Blocked the nomination of Clinton nominee, J. Rich Leonard to the 4th Cir. - NC,

Blocked the nomination of Clinton nominee, Ricardo Morado, to the SDTX

None of these judicial nominees received a vote.

SENATOR HATCH’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 11 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), and 5 State Department nominees.

• Voted to filibuster the nomination of Melissa F. Wells to be Ambassador to Mozambique in 1987.

• Voted to filibuster the nomination of C. William Verity, Jr. to be Secretary of Commerce in 1987.

• Voted to filibuster the nominations of William A. Lubbers and Don Alan Zimmerman to the NLRB in 1980.


Kay Hutchinson (TX)

Hutchinson blocked two Circuit Court nominees to the 5th Circuit, leaving open the seat Republicans are now trying to hand to Priscilla Owen. Hutchinson blocked Jorge Rangel and Enrique Moreno, both of whom were nominated for the 5th Circuit. [Fulton County Daily Report, (Georgia) 2/5/02]

SENATOR HUTCHINSON’S RECORD:


• Voted to filibuster 11 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), and 5 State Dept nominees en bloc.

James Inhofe (OK)

Senator Inhofe blocked Clinton nominee, Frank McCarthy, from receiving an up-or-down vote on his nomination to serve as a judge on the Northern District of Oklahoma.


SENATOR INHOFE’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster four Clinton nominees (executive and judicial): David Satcher, Henry Foster (twice), Marsha Berzon and Richard Paez

• Two of those votes in support of filibusters were cast in the nominations of judicial nominees: Berzon and Paez.

Johnny Isakson (GA)

SENATOR ISAKSON’S RECORD

• Senator Isakson has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Jon Kyl (AZ)


SENATOR KYL’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster two Clinton executive nominees: David Satcher and Henry Foster (twice).

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

Trent Lott (MS)

Senator Lott coined the phrase "nuclear option" while he was the Republican Majority Leader [Washington Times, 3/19/03]

Senator Lott was in no rush to confirm judges when he served as Majority Leader. Lott has said:
• "When I go to my state or around the country, the last thing I hear people clamoring for is more lifetime-tenured federal judges." [Washington Times, 12/13/98]
• "Do I have any apologies? Only one: I probably moved too many judicial nominations already." [Washington Times, 12/13/98]
• "When the Democrats think that all the President has to do is to kick up some appointments to the Federal judiciary and that we're just gonna take 'em whole hog and pop 'em right out...well, that's not my intent." [The Bulletin's Frontrunner, 1/21/97]
• "There are not a lot of people in our states saying, Give us more federal judges. ... I am trying to move this thing along, but getting more federal judges is not what I came here to do." [The Connecticut Law Tribune, 10/11, 1999]

Trent Lott believed there were enough judges on the DC Circuit in 1997: ”It is my belief that this court of appeals is more than adequately staffed based on the number of cases pending on the court's docket. . . . I think as compared to others certainly they have more judges than they need.” [Legal Times 3/24/97]

Lott blocked an up-or-down vote for Clinton nominee, H. Alston Johnson to the 5th Circuit-Louisiana. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, Johnson’s nomination “died at the Senate Judiciary Committee, a casualty of both the Republican slowdown on confirming President Clinton's nominees and also a power play by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. Lott doesn't object to Johnson, apparently. He's simply blocking all action on 5th Circuit nominees until a Lott-recommended candidate gets another open seat on the appeals court.”

SENATOR LOTT’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 11 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), and 5 State Department nominees

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Richard Lugar (IN)

SENATOR LUGAR’S RECORD:


• Lugar voted against cloture on the nomination of now Justice Stephen Breyer for the Circuit Court on 12/9/80.

• Voted to filibuster 10 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), David Satcher and five State Department nominees

Mel Martinez (FL)

SENATOR MARTINEZ’S RECORD

• Senator Martinez has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

John McCain (AZ)

SENATOR MCCAIN’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 11 Clinton executive and judicial nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), H. Lee Sarokin and five State Department nominees.

• Senator McCain has twice voted against cloture for judicial nominations: H. Lee Sarokin to the Third Circuit on 10/4/94, and Richard R. Clifton to the 9th Circuit on 7/18/02.

 

Mitch McConnell (KY)

McConnell blocked Clinton nominee, Kent Markus, from receiving a vote on his nomination to the 6th Circuit-Ohio


SENATOR MCCONNELL’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 12 Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Janet Napolitano, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), David Satcher, and five State Department nominees

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

• Voted to filibuster the nomination of Melissa F. Wells to be Ambassador to Mozambique in 1987.


Lisa Murkowski (AK)

SENATOR MURKOWSKI’S RECORD

• Senator Murkowski has never voted against cloture on a nomination.


Pat Roberts (KS)

SENATOR ROBERTS’ RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster one Clinton executive nominee: David Satcher.


Rick Santorum (PA)

Santorum Blocked Clinton Nominees From Receiving Up-Or-Down Votes:

Santorum admits blocking three District Court nominees. Santorum has admitted blocking the nominations of John H. Bingler Jr., Lynette Norton, and Robert Freedberg, all of whom were nominated by President Clinton for seats on the District Court. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/2/05]

Santorum blocked President Clinton’s Circuit Court choice. “In February of 2000, Santorum stopped a Clinton appeals court nominee -- then-U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Cindrich, whom Clinton had named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.”[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/2/05]

SENATOR SANTORUM’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster two Clinton executive nominees: David Satcher and Henry Foster (twice).

• Voted to block two Clinton judicial nominees: Marsha Berzon and Richard Paez.

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

Jeff Sessions (AL)

SENATOR SESSIONS’ RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster one Clinton executive nominee: David Satcher.

• Introduced motion and voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate

Richard Shelby (AL)

SENATOR SHELBY’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster five Clinton nominees (executive and judicial): H. Lee Sarokin, David Satcher, Henry Foster (twice), Marsha Berzon, and Richard Paez.

• Three of those filibuster votes were cast against judicial nominees: Sarokin, Berzon and Paez.

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.


Gordon Smith (OR)

SENATOR SMITH’S RECORD:

• Senator Smith has never voted against cloture on a nomination

Olympia Snowe (ME)

SENATOR SNOWE’S RECORD:

• Senator Snowe has never voted against cloture on a nomination.


Arlen Specter (PA)

SENATOR SPECTER’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster seven Clinton nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Marsha Berzon, Richard Paez and 5 State Department nominees

• Voted against cloture on the judicial nominations of James Harvie Wilkinson, III to the Fourth Circuit on 7/31/84, and for the nomination of Edward Carnes to the 11th Circuit on 9/9/92.


Ted Stevens (AK)

SENATOR STEVENS’ RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster nine Clinton executive nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Henry Foster, and 5 State Department nominees.

• Voted to filibuster the nominations of William A. Lubbers and Don Alan Zimmerman to the NLRB in 1980.


John Sununu (NH)

SENATOR SUNUNU’S RECORD:

• Senator Sununu has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

James Talent (MO)

SENATOR TALENT’S RECORD:

• Senator Talent has never voted against cloture on a nomination.

Craig Thomas (WY)

SENATOR THOMAS’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster one Clinton executive nominee: Henry Foster (twice)

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

John Thune (SD)

SENATOR THUNE’S RECORD:

• Senator Thune has never voted against cloture on a nominee.

David Vitter (LA)

SENATOR VITTER’S RECORD:

• Senator Vitter has never voted against cloture on a nominee.

 

George Voinovich (OH)

SENATOR VOINOVICH’S RECORD:

• Senator Voinovich has never voted against cloture on a nominee.


John Warner (VA)

SENATOR WARNER’S RECORD:

• Voted to filibuster 10 Clinton nominees: Walter Dellinger, Sam W. Brown (twice), Derek Shearer, Ricki Tigert, Henry Foster (twice), and 5 State Department nominees.

• Voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Richard Paez’s nomination, after the Republican filibuster was broken by a cloture vote to end debate.

• Voted against cloture on the nomination of Stephen G. Breyer to the Court of Appeals on 12/09/80

Article originally published May 9, 2005.

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