Monday, May 09, 2005

Filibuster for the Filibuster

To all those who signed up to help with this event, thank you. I'm excited and you should be too. I wanted to post this, Bobby wrote it, and it will be our talking point at the podium from Noon Wednesday May 11th to 1pm Thursday May 12th. Please be at White Plaza as much as you can. Post any ideas for the Filibuster here!!

We rise today to assert the most fundamental of the democratic principles laid out by our nation’s founders: the right to speak.

For the last four years, President Bush has appointed reactionary judges to fill lifetime vacancies in the federal judiciary. While many of these appointments are vastly out of the mainstream, Senate Democrats have typically deferred to the President’s choices—over 200 have already been confirmed.

But a mere ten of President Bush’s nominees are simply too openly hostile to the progress this country has achieved over the past five decades. They are aggressively anti-civil rights and completely unsympathetic to racial discrimination lawsuits. They are unapologetically opposed to Roe v. Wade and to laws aimed at preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. They pride themselves in their opposition to further victories for gay rights and they consistently side with big business over hardworking American consumers and workers. These few ideologues are single-mindedly fixated on forcing their radically regressive agenda on a tolerant America. Just like the Republicans blocked over SIXTY of President Clinton’s nominees in the ’90s, Democrats have used the filibuster tactic to block these ten (and ONLY these ten) from receiving lifetime appointments.

As I stand before you, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the rest of the Republican majority in the Senate prepare to detonate what they themselves have called the “nuclear option,” a tactic that would exploit a loophole in Senate procedures to unilaterally eliminate the filibuster. Over these ten nominees out of 214, Senator Frist is prepared to reverse two centuries of Senate tradition and eliminate any hope for bipartisan cooperation in our nation’s capital. The right of the filibuster was designed to make the Senate a more rational, deliberative institution that would rise just a little bit above raw partisan politics. But Frist’s crusade is purely partisan politics. He seeks to subvert the will of a clear majority of Americans who support the right of unlimited debate, the right of women to choose, and the right of millions of lesbian and gay Americans not to be relegated to second-class citizenship. Frist ultimately has his sights set on packing the Supreme Court will ultra-conservatives as Justices Rehnquist, O’Connor and possibly others retire in the near future. This catastrophic outcome cannot be permitted.

And so, every single Senate Democrat along with a few sensible Senate Republicans like Senator John McCain and Senator Lincoln Chafee have stepped up to defend the time-honored traditions of compromise and minority rights in the Senate. For as long as we manage to stay standing, we intend to support their cause. All night and all day, one of us will remain here at this podium, proudly reciting the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, our IHUM reading, some Dave Barry column we thought was funny, or whatever else we feel like spewing. We urge you to join us as we exercise and assert the right for even the minority to speak about whatever they damn well please. Sign up to take your turn up here at the podium, or come over and we’ll get you the information you need to write a letter to your senator asking them to vote with John McCain and Lincoln Chafee to support the rights of the minority. We know that we will not win every fight for every cause. But we will speak.

And with that, I return to our regularly scheduled tirade of random bullshit.


At May 09, 2005 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this. You are an asset to society and an inspiration to all.
-A Princeton Frist Filibuster organizer

At May 10, 2005 2:28 PM, Anonymous NYSusan said...

I only wish I could be there to join you in this -- but I live a little too far away to be able to do that. Nonetheless, please know that this makes me enormously proud to be a Stanford alum.

Susan Wolff, AB 1969

At May 10, 2005 2:56 PM, Blogger Gilbert Martinez said...

I'd also add Oympia Snowe as someone who's likely to oppose the filibuster. Sue Collins may also oppose the change. PHONE CALLS should be made to these senators if anyone is from Maine. Also, Warner (VA) and Hagel (NE) are on the fence. If Hagel runs for president in '08 (and I'd like to see him over McCain as the GOP challenger) he has no shot of winning in the general election if he bows to pressure from the radical right--I'm interested in his response. I'd like to hold out hope for Voinovich (OH) who has surprised me of late. And I don't know what the deal with Specter is.

We'll need 6 GOP Senators since Cheney will break a tie.

At May 10, 2005 7:48 PM, Blogger Bobby Lepore said...

From CNN:, the student activists' Web site, gives a national audience live footage from the filibuster site through a Webcam, and also provides a blog and tips for starting filibuster protests on other campuses.

Other protests have been organized at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Boston College, Tufts, Yale, University of Texas-Austin, and Carleton College in the past three weeks, though none have lasted as long as the one at Princeton.

It's not a lot, but hey, I consider that national press coverage!


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