Senators, embrace the filibuster! | AspenTimes.com
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Senators, embrace the filibuster!

Dear Editor:Republicans acted as if shocked at the deep and detailed resistance of every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. These Democrats performed their elected role with honor, to counteract the nonrepresentative effects of presidential power. Samuel Alito is a career advocate of a stronger presidency, the “unitary executive.” Republicans are cleverly hiding the obvious: This nomination is a partisan effort to push the judicial branch to the right while making supreme the powers of the president of the world’s supreme power. This administration has muted opposition with the yet-to-be-debated claim that the USA is in great danger. If true, our nation needs sophisticated secretive national security while citizens depend on elected protectors for safety. We are getting tired of hearing this whopper. The USA has too powerful a military and countless police forces, but proves relatively helpless as a provider of domestic assistance. Since our government is also no longer self-limiting thanks to a failing system of checks and balances, the USA is the most dangerous nation on the planet. Yes, even Americans need better legal protection from their own president.We have watched the executive branch claim the right to secretly wiretap, kidnap, render to foreign regimes, imprison without legal representation and torture Americans. People in charge are unrepentant about deplorable methods. Will Supreme Court Justice Alito help us stop them? Not likely. This nation may be at the critical last chance to stop the Supreme Court from turning forever pro-executive and anti-popular.There is no more appropriate time than now for a filibuster. The filibuster ensures that a controversial nomination is acceptable to an additional 10 percent of the Senate. What could be more reassuring than 60 senators voting for a Supreme Court nominee? 70? Should a nation without trust in its president be willing to confirm his nomination for lifetime Supreme Court justice with less than 60 votes? Not in these troubled, divisive times. Someone please place the blame on George Bush for nominating a candidate so controversial he might not get a handful of Democratic votes.Senators, embrace the filibuster! It is not the most extreme of measures. This White House seeks to unbalance the separation of powers. Filibuster is a legal and responsible way to act now to restore balance and politely ask for a more acceptable nominee.What if fear of Republican cynicism puts Alito on the Supreme Court and as a result our judiciary protects only its corporate citizens but forgets ordinary individuals? When rank-and-file Republicans realize what the government has been doing to them, not for them, there will be an embarrassing accounting. Every vote on the Alito confirmation will be remembered for a long time.We need a Supreme Court who will reliably protect us from a presidency which we know can get out of hand. Bush has invited another of his noncentrist friends onto the same Supreme Court which literally gave him his supremely powerful position. Stop this trend toward an all-powerful White House while there is still time.Harvie BranscombEl Jebel


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