Do I support a filibuster? The answer is yes.
Yesterday Senator Kennedy and I spoke with our colleagues about it. I don’t have a shred of doubt in my opposition to Sam Alto’s nomination. I know Senator Kennedy does not either. He has truly been a great leader in the effort to oppose Judge Alito.
I spent a lot of time over the last years thinking about the Supreme Court and who America needs on the highest court in the land. So I don’t hesitate a minute in saying that Sam Alito is not that person. His entire legal career shows that, if confirmed, he will take America backwards. People can say all they want that “elections have consequences.” Trust me, more than anyone I understand that. But that seems like an awfully convoluted rationale for me to stay silent about Judge Alito’s nomination.
I voted against Justice Roberts, I feel even more strongly about Judge Alito. Why? Rather than live up to the promise of “equal justice under the law,” he’s consistently made it harder for the most disadvantaged Americans to have their day in court. He routinely defers to excessive government power regardless of how extreme or egregious the government’s actions are. And, to this date, his only statement on record regarding a woman’s right to privacy is that she doesn’t have one.
I said yesterday that President Bush had the opportunity to nominate someone who would unite the country in a time of extreme division. He chose not to do this, and that is his right. But we have every right, in fact, we have a responsibility, to fight against a radical ideological shift on the Supreme Court. Just think about how this nomination came to be. Under fire from his conservative base for nominating Harriet Miers–a woman whose judicial philosophy they mercilessly attacked–President Bush broke to extreme right-wing demands.
This was a coup.
Miers was removed and Alito was installed to replace the swing vote on the Court. The President gave no thought to what the American people really wanted–or needed. So it’s up to us to think about what America really needs – that’s part of the true meaning of “advice and consent.”
Here’s the bottom line though and I’ll just be blunt and direct about it. It takes more than one or two people to filibuster. It’s not “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” I’m doing what I can, Senator Kennedy is doing what he can, but if, like me, you want to stop Judge Alito from becoming Justice Alito, we can’t just preach to our own choir. We need even more of your advocacy.