April 21, 2005
Janice Rogers Brown, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 21 by a 10-8 party-line vote. Senate liberals, however, imply resumed filibusters will keep her and other nominees from receiving a vote in the full Senate. Members of the black leadership network Project 21 demand a halt to such delaying tactics.Though I didn't get quoted this time out, I'm still happy to stand with my fellow Project 21 members in support of Justice Brown.
Â“The Senate has a constitutional duty to move forward with fair consideration of judicial appointees,Â” said Project 21 member Darryn Â“DutchÂ” Martin. Â“If they resume the stalling that keeps long-standing judicial vacancies open, they donÂ’t deserve to be considered public servants.Â”
A single mother and the daughter of an Alabama sharecropper, Associate Justice Brown has spent 25 years in public service. She has served on the California Supreme Court since 1996, and prior to that served on the benches of other state courts. A quarter of the court to which Brown is currently nominated is vacant.
In 2003, a bipartisan group of law professors praised BrownÂ’s Â“commitment to individual freedom, even when rights are asserted by unpopular litigants.Â” Similarly, her fellow judges describe her as "a superb judge" who is "extremely intelligent, keenly analytical and very hard-working" and a judge "who applies the law without favor, without bias and with an even hand."
Senate liberals began a filibuster of Brown's nomination in November of 2003. While only a simple majority is needed for actual confirmation, a filibuster requires 60 votes to bring the nomination to the floor for a vote.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) implied filibusters will resume against Brown and others when he told the Associated Press nominees such as her Â“deserved to be rejected beforeÂ… they deserve to be rejected again.Â” Despite the senatorÂ’s statement, Brown and other nominees were never rejected because a vote on their nominations never took place due to filibusters.
Â“Janice Rogers Brown is the most prolific thinker since Clarence Thomas,Â” says Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch. Â“Her broad profundity on the importance of individual rights of citizens and what must be the limited exercise of government are the very essence of our nationÂ’s founding.Â”
Though Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and other Republicans may be reluctant to move forward, this move by the Judiciary possibly sets up a showdown on the abuse of the Senate's filibuster power by Democrats in the larger body.
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