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DEMOCRATS SHOULDN'T DENY JUDICIAL NOMINEES A VOTE

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, in a letter to Majority Leader Bill Frist, said that Democrats are ready to block all but emergency Senate action if Republicans change Senate rules so that filibusters can be stopped by a simple majority vote.

Democrats, for the past four years, have abused the filibuster rule as a means of keeping those with whom they disagree ideologically from serving as federal judges. Denying nominees an up-or-down vote by the full Senate goes against chamber tradition, and disenfranchises the American people.

The Constitution gives the Senate the power to offer "advice and consent," not "obstruct and prevent." Back in 1975, Sen. Edward Kennedy was quoted as saying, "The filibuster rule is not enshrined in the Constitution. Instead, it is a rule that was made by the Senate, and it is a rule that can be unmade by the Senate." What is fair or unfair seems to depend on whose ox is being gored.

Malcolm V. Short Sr.

Jamestown