Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Sen. Jon Kyl is not alone in displaying rank hypocrisy on the subject of judicial filibusters. A conservative group called the Third Branch Conference, headed by Manuel Miranda, has written a letter to all 40 Republican Senators demanding that they filibuster the Sotomayor nomination. Oh, they try and make a distinction between what they call a “Democratic filibuster” and a “traditional filibuster” but we’ll see how little that means in a moment. Here’s their fanciful rationalization:

There has been much distraction in discussing whether the Republican Minority would or could muster a “Democratic filibuster,” i.e., a filibuster used to obstruct a Senate confirmation vote. We recognize that Senate precedent has been altered by the systematic use of the “Democratic filibuster.”

As Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska (D) recently pointed out, a minority of Senators may now be well-entitled to prevent a cloture vote of a Supreme Court nominee who is, as Senator Nelson put it, an “activist.” Such a result could similarly be justified by a nominee who is unqualified, with no judicial or jurisprudential record, or who is clearly an adherent of “Living Constitution” jurisprudence, or otherwise likely to bring to the court their personal politics.

We remind you that the Republican Party Platform, which almost all Republican Senators
voted to adopt, establishes that you will not support a “stealth nominee” or a nominee
who does not display fidelity to the Constitution.

Even so, no credible person, if any, has called on Senate Republicans to brandish a
Democratic filibuster.” We call on you instead to display leadership, if the nominee merits it, in preparing for the use of the traditional filibuster, not intended to obstruct, together with moderate Democrats, so that the debate on the Senate floor is appropriately long and, therefore, suitably catalyzed to the American people.

So is there really a distinction between a “Democratic filibuster” and a “traditional filibuster”? Not really. Senate rules no longer require that in order to filibuster, a Senator or group of Senators continue talking 24 hours a day. Under current rules, it is enough merely to vote not to close the debate, which famously takes 60 votes to do.

But whether one keeps the debate open by talking hour after hour, or keeps the debate open merely by voting against cloture, the result is exactly the same – no final vote can be taken on the matter. So whether they do this in the traditional manner or not, if the Republicans filibuster the Sotomayor nomination it will be under the exact same rules, and for the same result, as those newfangled Democratic filibusters. The nomination still will not get a vote unless 60 Senators vote to end the debate.

Now let’s set Professor Peabody’s Wayback Machine to 1995 and look at a letter sent to the Republican Senators by a group calling itself the Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters. That letter implored Senate Republicans, then in the majority, to change the Senate rules to do away with the very action they are now advocating.

In recent times, partisan special interests have threatened judicial independence again by inserting ideology into the Senate confirmation process of federal judges. Now the Minority has changed 215 years of Senate tradition by abusing the filibuster for the first time against nominees with clear majority support.

The Senate must act as steward of the federal courts by returning the power to confirm judges to the Constitution’s simple majority requirement. While it is the right of the President to expect the Senate to give Advice and Consent within a reasonable period of time, it is the duty of every Senator to offer Advice and Consent through an honest, up or down vote.

Moreover, the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster is a device intended to undermine the prerogatives of the Presidency as well as the tradition of the Senate. It must not stand. You must not waver. The President, this President, must have the freedom to nominate appellate judges and Supreme Court justices who will restore the courts to their constitutional role.

We are convinced that the proof of history is overwhelming that the Constitutional Options are a conservative response that do not threaten but will restore Senate debate rules and tradition.

So let’s take a look at the signatories of those two letters. Here’s the group that signed the new letter demanding a judicial filibuster:

Manuel A. Miranda, Chairman
Richard Viguerie, ConservativeHQ.com
David Keene, American Conservative Union
Gary Bauer, American Values
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Larry Pratt, Gun Owners of America
Dr. Virginia Armstrong, Eagle Forum’s Court Watch
Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
Mark R. Levin. President, Landmark Legal Foundation
Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family
Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America
Rev. Miguel Rivera, National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders
Dr. Carl Herbster, AdvanceUSA
Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association
Niger Innis, Congress of Racial Equality
Willes K. Lee, Hawaii Republican Party. Immediate Past Chairman
Ron Robinson, Young America’s Foundation
Michael P. Farris, Esq., Home School Legal Defense Association
Peter Flaherty, National Legal and Policy Center
Kelly Shackelford. Liberty Legal Institute
Dana Cody, Life Legal Defense Foundation.
Susan Carleson, American Civil Rights Union
Phillip Jauregui, Judicial Action Group,
Ilya Shapiro, Esq., Cato Institute
Dean John C. Eastman, Dean, Chapman University School of Law
Dean Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Univ. School of Law (Founder, Liberty Counsel)
Prof. Teresa S. Collett. University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minnesota
Prof. Ronald D. Rotunda, Chapman University School of Law
Michelle Gress, J.D., The Westchester Institute for Ethics
L. Brent Bozell III, Media Research Center
Thomas A. Glessner, JD, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates
Denise Singleton, American Federation of Senior Citizens
Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association
Rev. Rick Scarborough, Vision America
Rev. Louis Sheldon, Traditional Values Coalition
Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition
Keith Wiebe, American Association of Christian Schools
Debbie Joslin, Alaska Eagle Forum, Republican National Committeewoman, Alaska
Bruce Ash, Republican National Committeeman, Arizona
Steve Scheffler, Iowa Christian Alliance, Republican National Committeeman, Iowa
W. Ross Little, Jr., Republican National Committeeman, Louisiana
Curly Haugland, Republican National Committeeman, North Dakota
Cathie Adams, Texas Eagle Forum, Republican National Committeewoman, Texas
Kathy Terry, Republican National Committeewoman, Virginia
David Ridenour, The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Ridenour, Americans for the Preservation of Liberty
Jeffrey Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom
William H. Shaker. Rule of Law Committee
William J. Murray, Religious Freedom Coalition
J. C. Willke, MD, International Right to Life Federation
Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute
Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, Human Life International
Dr. Patricia McEwen, Life Coalition International
Austin Ruse, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
Jennifer Kimball, Culture of Life Foundation
Eric Scheidler, Pro-Life Action League
John Jansen, Generations for Life
Mark L. Melcher – The Political Forum
Deal W. Hudson. Catholic Advocate
Brian Burch, Fidelis and CatholicVote.org
John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews.com
Tom Shields, Coalition for Marriage and Family
Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach
William Greene, Ph.D., RightMarch.com
Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud
Mychal Massie, Project 21
Linda Harvey, Mission America
David Crowe, Restore America
Sandy Rios, Culture Campaign
Robert Peters, Morality in Media
C. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Dave Bydalek, Family First
Richard Ford, Heritage Alliance
Peter LaBarbera, Americans for Truth
Tim Echols, Teenpact Leadership
Gary Palmer, Alabama Policy Institute
Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance
Mary Anne Hackett, Catholic Citizens of Illinois
James Dunlap, Citizens for Community Values of Indiana
Micah Clark, American Family Association of Indiana
Dr. Don Racheter, Iowa Wednesday Group
Dennis K. Baxley, Christian Coalition of Florida
Kent Ostrander, The Family Foundation (Kentucky)
Gene Mills, Louisiana Family Forum
Jason Stern, Louisiana Family Forum Action
Brian Camenker, MassResistance
Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute
Joseph Ureneck, The Fatherhood Coalition, Massachusetts
Gary Glenn, President, American Family Association of Michigan
Pastor Paul Blair, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ
Diane Gramley, American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Fran Bevan, Pennsylvania Eagle Forum
Harry Levine, Victory NH
Carolee Adams, Eagle Forum of New Jersey
Marie E. Tasy, New Jersey Right to Life
Bill Brooks, North Carolina Family Policy Council Action
Bobbie Patray, Tennessee Eagle Forum
Beverly Roberts, Texas Concerned Women for America
Betty Anderson, Eagle Forum of Montgomery Co., Texas
Daniel J. Cassidy, Editor, Sunlit Uplands, South Carolina
Steve Milloy, JunkScience.com
Jim Sutherland, California
Lester J. Larsen, Colorado
Chris Dickson, Indiana
Don Feder, Feder Associates, Massachussetts
Doug Reaume, Michigan
Didi Lima, Nevada
Ed Holdgate, New Hampshire
Stephen M. De Luca, New Jersey
Candace deRussy, New York
John C. Armor, Esq., North Carolina
Ed Gehringer, North Carolina
Jerry Stevens, South Carolina
Janet M. LaRue, Esq., Jan LaRue Consulting, Texas
Donna Garner, Texas
Larry Cirgnano, Virginia
Kenneth D. Whitehead, former Assistant Secretary of Education, Virginia
Jeffrey Lord, author, The Borking Rebellion
Mark I. Sutherland, author, Judicial Tyranny
Martha Zoller, “The Martha Zoller Show”, Georgia News Network
Janet Parshall, Nationally Syndicated Talk show Host

And here’s the group that signed the 2005 letter demanding an end to judicial filibusters:

C. Boyden Gray, Committee for Justice
Kay R. Daly, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Harvey Tettlebaum, Republican National Lawyers Association
David A. Keene, American Conservative Union
Gary L. Bauer, American Values
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Paul Weyrich, Free Congress Foundation
Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family
James D. Daly, Focus on the Family
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
James J. Fotis, Law Enforcement Alliance of America
Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship Ministries
Mark Earley, Prison Fellowship Ministries
Connie Mackey, Family Research Council
Lisa DePasquale, Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute
L. Brent Bozell III, Conservative Victory Committee
Dr. William A. Donohue, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America
Dr. Carl Herbster, AdvanceUSA
Ray Ruddy, Gerard Health Foundation
Kurt Entsminger, Care Net
Dr. Virginia Armstrong, Eagle Forum’s Court Watch
Duane Parde, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)
Matt Kibbe, Freedom Works
Peter A. Samuelson, Americans United for Life
Clarke D. Forsythe, Esq. AUL’s Project on Law and Bioethics
Richard Land, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Dr. Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Dr. John C. Eastman, The Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice
James Bopp, Jr., James Madison Center for Free Speech
Samuel B. Casey, Christian Legal Society
Kelly Shackelford. Liberty Legal Institute
Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel
Alan E. Sears, Alliance Defense Fund
Roy Innis, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
Niger Innis, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
Lanier Swann, Concerned Women for America
Dr. Keith Wiebe, American Association of Christian Schools
Jeffrey Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom
Brian McCabe, Progress for America
Phyllis Berry Myers, New Black Leadership Coalition
Nancie Marzulla, Defenders of Property Rights
Kevin W. Blier, Center for American Cultural Renewal
Steven Mosher, Population Research Institute
Ken Connor, Center for a Just Society
Rick Scarborough, Vision America
Michael Valerio, Vision America
Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network
Ron Robinson, Young America’s Foundation
Michael Howden, Stronger Families
Manuel Lujan, Jr., Hispanic Alliance for Progress Institute
James L. Martin, 60 Plus Association
Penny Nance, Kids First Coalition
Charles W. Jarvis, USA Next (United Seniors Association)
Dr. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries
Dr. Gary Cass, Center for Reclaiming America
Mark Sutherland, Joyce Meyer Ministries
Dr. S. Dale Burroughs, Biblical Heritage Institute
Mike Snyder, The Wilberforce Forum
Bishop Keith Butler
Pastor Rod Parsley, Center for Moral Clarity
Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Traditional Values Coalition
Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition
Jeff Ballabon, Center for Jewish Values
Bill May, Catholics for the Common Good
Oliver N.E. Kellman, Jr., National Faith Based Coalition
Rev. Rusty Thomas, Eijah Ministries
Dr. Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Steve Lemke, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Craig Blaising, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas
Austin Ruse, Culture of Life Foundation
Thomas Glessner, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates
Leslee Unruh, Abstinence Clearinghouse
Thomas A. Shields, Coalition for Marriage and Family
Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute
Warren Kelley, National Center for Freedom & Renewal
Robert B. Carlson, American Civil Rights Union
Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach
Jennifer Bingham, Susan B. Anthony List
Paul Caprio, Family-PAC Federal
Larry Cirignano, CatholicVote.org
William Greene, RightMarch.com
C. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Phil Burress, Citizens for Community Values
Alvin Williams, Black America’s PAC (BAMPAC)
Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association
Stephen M. Crampton, AFA Center for Law & Policy
Dr. Patricia McEwen, Life Coalition International
Rev. Keith Tucci, Life Coalition International
Richard Ford, Heritage Alliance
Karen Testerman, Cornerstone Policy Research
Gregory K. Blankenship, Illinois Policy Institute
Mary Anne Hackett, Catholic Citizens of Illinois
Irwin Essenfeld, Renew Illinois Foundation
Mary T Erickson, Illinois Citizens for Life
Peter LaBarbera, Illinois Family Institute
Thomas Smith, America 21 (Tennessee)
Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society, Pro-life Law Center (Chicago)
Denise Mackura, Ohio Right to Life
Russell Johnson, American Restoration Project (Pastor, Fairfield Christian Church, OH)
James E. Barrett, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Gary Glenn, American Family Association of Michigan
Len Deo, New Jersey Family Policy Council
Dr. Steven J. Kidder, New York State Family Policy Council, Inc.
Michael S. Heath, Christian Civic League of Maine
Kenneth Endean, Maine Association of Christian Schools
Lisa E. Roche, Esq, Maine Right to Life Committee
Cathie Adams, Texas Eagle Forum
Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute
Diane Gramley, American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Dr. Ed Johnson, Minnesota Association of Christian Schools
Tom Prichard, Minnesota Family Council
Michael N. Duff, United Families Idaho
Julie Lynde, Cornerstone Institute of Idaho
Chuck Hurley, Iowa Family Policy Center
Kelly M. Rosati, JD, Hawaii Family Forum
Dr. James Efaw, Colorado Association of Christian Schools
Gene Mills, Louisiana Family Forum
Sadie Fields, Christian Coalition of Georgia
Rev. Reece Yandle, South Carolina Association of Christian Schools
Brad Fleming, Maryland Association of Christian Educators
Douglas P. Stiegler, Family Protection Lobby – Maryland
Dr. Ronald Konopaski, United For Life- San Francisco
Dr. Joe Haas, North Carolina Christian School Association
Bill Brooks, North Carolina Family Policy Council
Robert E. Regier, South Dakota Family Policy Council
Kent Ostrander, The Family Foundation of Kentucky
David Bydalek, Family First (Nebraska)
Len Munsil, The Center for Arizona Policy
Micah Clark, American Family Association of Indiana
John Stemberger, Florida Family Action, Inc
Forest Thigpen, Mississippi Center for Public Policy
Michael L. Jestes, Oklahoma Family Policy Council
Julaine K. Appling, The Family Research Institute of Wisconsin
Joe Bob Mizzell, Alabama Baptist Christian Life Commission
Tim Parish, Rocky Mountain Association of Christian Schools.
Dr. Ken Hutcherson, Antioch Bible Church, Redmond, WA
William F. Large, Alaska Republican Party
Hiram Lewis, Esq., West Virginia GOP
Dorcas K. Harbert, GOP County Chair, Monongalia County, Morgantown, WV
Charles Bolen, Past Chairman, West Virginia Young Republicans
Former Congressman Mick Staton (R-WV)
West Virginia Senator Larry Kimble (R-WV)
Mark Coyle, former Communications Director, WV Republican Party
Grant M. Lally, Irish American Republicans
Brian McCarthy, Irish-American Republicans
Don A. Daughtery, Wisconsin Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Maclin Davis, Tennessee Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Mark E. Foster, Oregon Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Craig Hymowitz, Philadelphia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Jefferson Knight, Florida Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Paul D. Seyferth, Kansas Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Frank B. Strickland, Georgia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
William M. Todd, Ohio Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Corey R. Weber, California Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Thomas E. Wheeler, Indiana Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
William B. Sellers, Alabama Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Brian T. Egan, New York Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Ann Browning, California Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Cameron Quinn, Virginia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Lee Goodman, Virginia Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
David Blackwood, Maryland Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Mark Chadwick, Southern Arizona Republican National Lawyers Association Chapter
Keith Carlson, Orange County (CA) Republican Lawyers Association
Rhet Miles, Chairman of the Benton County, Arkansas, Republican Committee
Ron Shuping, The Inspiration Television Networks
Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated Radio and TV host
Martha Zoller, Radio Talk Show Host and Political Analyst (Georgia)
Kevin P. Doran, Radio Talk Show host (New York)
Mike Siegel, Radio host and author of Power Talk: The Influence of Talk Radio
Chris Dickson. “The Dickson/Chappell Report”, (Midwest)
Dom Giordano 1210 AM Radio (Philadelphia)
Adam McManus, Radio Host of “Take A Stand” (Texas)
Dave “Doc” Kirby, Radio Host (Alabama)
Inga Barks, Radio Host (Southern CA)
Marta Montelongo, Radio Host (Central CA)
Vicki McKenna, Radio Host, News/Talk 1310 WIBA (Wisconsin)
Brian Farrar, Syndicated talk show host, Michigan Talk Radio Network
Mark R. Levin, author of Men in Black
Craig Shirley, author, “Reagan’s Revolution; The Untold Story of the Campaign that Started it All.”
Carol A. Taber, FamilySecurityMatters.com (former publisher, Working Woman and Working Mother magazines).
Victor K. Williams, Professor of Law, Catholic University of America School of Law
Clint Bolick, Esq. (Arizona)

How many names can you spot that are on both lists?