WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) tonight made the following statement on the agreement which clears the way for some of President Bush's nominees to be confirmed to the federal bench.
"The American people won tonight. The Senate is back in business. And I truly believe future judicial nominees will be treated better because of this agreement."
"The agreement allows up or down votes on deserving nominees and gives the Senate a chance to start over regarding future nominees. It's my hope both sides have learned from their mistakes and we can get back to the traditional way of doing business when it comes to judges.
"One of the major elements of the deal makes clear that if one of my seven Democratic colleagues decides to filibuster in the future because of an "extraordinary circumstance," I retain the right to vote for a rules change. It's my hope we never get to that point.
"With better communication and a spirit of putting the country ahead of ourselves, I believe we can avoid future filibusters.
"We are a nation at war which desperately needs a functioning Senate. Our men and women in harms way deserve Senators with personal courage and respect for the institution. They are risking their lives to defend our freedom and those of us in the Senate should have the courage to put the welfare of the country ahead of our own personal political interests. That's the least we should do.
I can't begin to tell you how angry this makes me as a citizen of the State of South Carolina. I also can't believe that Senator Graham actually believes this accomplishes anything at all.
He and the thirteen others who drafted this worthless agreement should be ashamed of themselves. The American people have not won, they have been railroaded! These senators have taken the position that they are in charge, when in fact, it is the President's role to nominate judges to the judiciary, and the Senate's job to give them an up-or-down vote. It is not their job to decide who "deserves" a vote.
As a Republican from the State of South Carolina, Senator Graham should know this will go over like a lead balloon to those who put him in office. So he says the Senate is back in business. Exactly what business is that? This agreement is the polar opposite of business. It assures further obstruction. Sure, they agree to have an up-or-down vote on three judges, but it accomplishes nothing because the threat is still there.
Senator Graham notes in his statement that he reserves the right to a rule change should one of his Democratic colleagues decide to filibuster. He has that right now! Exactly what confidence should we get from this assurance. If he is afraid to do it now, what assurance do we have that he will ever summon up the courage.
The seven Republicans in this agreement have handed power directly to the minority party. It is power they have not earned and do not deserve. I will never understand why they think this is such a noble accomplishment, but I guess it will all come out over time. I do understand, however, that Senator Graham has won no friends in the State of South Carolina with his support of this agreement. If he isn't careful, one day this state may be calling Jim DeMint the Senior Senator from South Carolina. He would be wise to prepare himself for that reality.