Tim Russert: Repubs Blocked Judges from the Judiciary Commitee When Clinton Was President
MR. TIM RUSSERT (Host): Let me turn to federal judges. Court of Appeals: Bill Clinton nominated 51 people to the Court of Appeals. Thirty-five were confirmed. Sixteen were blocked by the Republicans by not giving hearings or not allowed out of committee. George Bush nominated 52. Thirty-five were confirmed because the Democrats threatened filibuster. They don't run the committees, so they can't block it in committee. What's the difference?
SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R-Va): I think you'll find on the Circuit Court judges that President Bush has the lowest percentage of Circuit Court judges...
MR. RUSSERT: I just gave you the numbers. Clinton nominated 51; 35 were confirmed. Bush nominated 52; 35 were confirmed. Those are the numbers.
SEN. ALLEN: Well, I have different numbers than that. The reality is that some of President Clinton's nominees were blocked in committee. They did not--and a lot of them were also brought up at the very end of his term.
MR. RUSSERT: These are Court of Appeals. This is what we're...
SEN. ALLEN: Right. And they were brought up at the end. Here's where we are today. I wasn't part of what was going on back then. In fact, one of--my first speech on the Senate floor was asking my colleagues to rise above partisanship and political gamesmanship and support Roger Gregory, who President Clinton put in as an interim judge on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and President Bush put forward Roger Gregory. He rose above all this partisanship and this worship of process in the Senate and nominated Roger Gregory, along with Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown and others who have not been accorded the fairness of a vote.
My view is that these nominees, outstanding nominees, should, after they've been vetted and people look at their judicial philosophy--and I like judges whose will apply the law, not invent it...
MR. RUSSERT: Yeah. Right.
SEN. ALLEN: ...that senators ought to have the backbone and spine to get off their haunches and vote yes or vote no and don't hold them up for...
MR. RUSSERT: All right. All right. So you pledge as a Republican that you will never block a Democratic nominee in committee and will always allow a vote on the floor.
SEN. ALLEN: The way I look at it, if somebody comes out of the committee with a favorable recommendation...
MR. RUSSERT: That's not what I asked. You can block from the committee which is the equivalent of blocking...
SEN. ALLEN: Well, look, I really don't mind voting for or against judges and being held accountable and responsible in the event someday...
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