Sign the petition to save the filibuster

By |2003-05-02T09:00:00-04:00May 2nd, 2003|Uncategorized|

Radical right leaders like Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell are urging senators to make a pre-emptive strike that will leave Americans unable to defend against far-right Court nominees. Their target is the 200-year-old tradition of the Senate filibuster, the tool that empowers 41 or more senators to prevent a narrow majority from abusing its power. It was used last Congress to keep a number of President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees off the bench.
If the filibuster is eliminated, Bush, Cheney and 50 senators could steamroll up to four new justices onto the Supreme Court – even one or two could create a right-wing majority that would undermine the Voting Rights Act of 1965, gut the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, overturn Roe v. Wade, and much more.
The radical right calls the plan the “nuclear option.” The man with his finger on the button is one of the most extreme members of the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has perfect voting-record scores from the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council and other far-right groups.
Frist needs the votes of half the Senate plus Vice President Cheney’s tie-breaker to succeed in this move to eliminate the filibuster. That means we must win the votes of all 44 Democratic senators, the one Independent, and at least six courageous Republicans to stop him. Fortunately, there are some Republicans who understand how dangerous it is to sacrifice this historic check on the abuse of power for short-term political gain. But they will be under enormous pressure from Frist, Bush, Karl Rove and their allies. Not a single vote can be taken for granted.
The launch of the “nuclear option” is not tied to a Supreme Court vacancy. Any filibusteragainst a judicial nominee could be used as an excuse to abolish all that separates us from the Supreme Court of Pat Robertson’s dreams.
According to People for the American Way President Ralph G. Neas, “We must stop Senator Frist’s power-grab, we must protect the Court, and we must do it now. There is no other battle that means more to the next 40 years than this one.”
PFAW is urging people who believe in the checks and balances of Democracy to sign a petition defending the filibuster. Copies of the petition will be sent to Republican senators likely to choose principle over party. At their website you can also make a donation to their Supreme Court Defense Fund. Sign the petition at

About the Author:

D'Anne Witkowski
D'Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.