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Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Letter From Dick Durbin

Wow! What an honor! A form letter from one of my two senators from Illinois. It starts with the lie that he appreciates hearing from me, and ends with the lie that he will keep my views in mind in voting for Judicial Nominees. Everything in between is just Democratic talking points. I'd write him back, but his next form letter would have a hard time getting past my spam filters.

But, if I'm ever in Washington at 8:30 AM on a Thursday, you can just bet I'll stop in for Coffee and Donuts so he and Senator Obama can hear what's on the mind of this particular Illinoisan...yessiree, I've got a thing or two on my mind to tell my Senators from The People's Republic of Illinois...much of it relatively profanity free.
May 3, 2005

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for contacting me about President Bush's judicial nominees. I
appreciate hearing from you.

I have voted to approve more than 90% of President Bush's district and
circuit court nominees. The vast majority of his judicial nominees – more
than 200 of them – have been confirmed by the Senate.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I carefully review the
merits of each nominee. During this process, I evaluate the nominee's
past record, professional competence, integrity, temperament, and judicial
philosophy; his or her commitment to upholding the rights and protections
established by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and subsequent laws;
and the background information and testimony collected in the course of
the candidate's confirmation hearings.

Throughout its history, the Senate has encouraged thorough debate on
important matters. Senate Rule XXII, known as the "cloture rule,"
guarantees that we can meet our obligation to conduct the kind of debate
necessary to ensure that candidates for the judiciary have broad support.

According to the Congressional Research Service, cloture motions, which
require a super-majority vote to proceed, were filed and brought to a vote
on 14 appeals court nominations from 1980 to 2000. Although cloture was
invoked in each of these instances, it was not invoked in 1968, when the
Senate filibustered President Johnson's nomination of Abe Fortas to be
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Any attempt to bypass the use of the filibuster now would undermine a
fundamental principle upon which our country was founded - the system of
checks and balances. This mechanism was created to limit the power of the
President and the majority party in Congress. It was designed to protect
the rights of the minority and promote compromise among the branches of

President Bush must respect the Senate's constitutional role in the
judicial nomination process and seek our advice, not just our consent.
The Constitution does not make the Senate a rubber stamp for the
President's nominees. By working together, the President and the Senate
can make progress on nominations as well as other important matters.

I will keep your views in mind as I continue to consider judicial
nominations. Thank you again for contacting me.


Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator


P.S. If you are ever visiting Washington, please feel free to join Senator
Obama and me at our weekly constituent coffee. When the Senate is in
session, we provide coffee and donuts every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. as we
hear what is on the minds of Illinoisans and respond to your questions.
We would welcome your participation. Please call my D.C. office for more

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