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Democratic Leadership Urges President To Consult With Senators On Both Sides On Judicial Appointments

On Heels of Last Nights Compromise, Leaders Hope to Avert Future Confrontation over Judges with Good Faith Effort to Agree on Appointments
Schumer: Agreement is a Shot Across the Bow to the President Dont Pick Someone Too Extreme or Youll Run into Trouble
Senates Constitutional Duty to Provide Advice and Consent Means Consultation between President and Senate

Today members of the Democratic Senate Leadership sent President Bush a letter asking him to consult with members of both political parties before submitting judicial nominations. The letter, signed by Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Debbie Stabenow, and written and signed by Chuck Schumer, said that consultation with the minority and with moderate Republicans will be a critical component of avoiding another serious Senate showdown on judges.

Sen. Schumer stated, The agreement is a shot across the bow to the President dont pick someone too extreme or youll run into trouble. The test will be, does the President start consulting with Democrats and moderate Republicans on judicial nominations going forward?

Former President Bill Clinton regularly consulted with Senator Orrin Hatch (RUT) on potential nominees when Hatch chaired the Judiciary Committee. President Bushs unwillingness to engage the minority party on nominees contributed to escalating the recent crisis.

The letter acknowledges fault on both sides of the aisle for the narrowly averted confrontation over judges, and seeks to avoid future conflict through a commitment to bipartisanship and compromise on both sides of the aisle. We reached this nowaverted crisis through fault on both sides, over many years. It is now time to move forward in a renewed spirit of bipartisan cooperation, and we are eager to begin that process. In so doing, however, we must not repeat the mistakes of the past.

The letter cited the Memorandum of Understanding between the 14 senators who signed last nights historic compromise. Their memo explicitly called on the President to consult with members of both parties before submitting judicial nominations. The memo read, We believe that, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word Advice speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the Presidents power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.

Click here to view letter.