Senate Republicans today blocked (via filibuster) President Obama’s nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Goodwin Liu. Let us travel back in time just a few short years and see what several of the Republican senators had to say about the filibuster of judicial nominees while George W. Bush was in the White House. Note that these are all senators who voted against cloture (for filibuster) today…
Senator Saxby Chambliss (GA): “I believe [filibustering judicial nominees] is in violation of the Constitution” (4/13/05).
Senator John Cornyn (TX): Judicial filibusters are “offensive to our nation’s constitutional design…. [S]eparation of powers principles strongly suggest that the Senate may not—and especially not by mere Senate rule—enhance its own power in such a manner without offending the Constitution” (2004).
Senator Mike Crapo (ID): “[T]he Constitution requires the Senate to hold up-or-down votes on all nominees” (5/25/05).
Senator Jim Demint (SC): “[D]enials of simple votes on judicial nominees” are “unconstitutional” (5/22/05).
Senator Lindsey Graham (SC): “I think filibustering judges will destroy the judiciary over time. I think it’s unconstitutional” (5/23/05).
Senator Orrin Hatch (UT): Filibustering judicial nominees is “unfair, dangerous, partisan, and unconstitutional” (1/12/05).
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX): “[T]he Constitution envisions a 51-vote majority for judgeships…. [Filibustering judges] amend[s] the Constitution without going through the proper processes…. We have a majority rule that is the tradition of the Senate with judges. It is the constitutional requirement” (4/28/05).
Senator Johnny Isakson (GA): “[T]he Constitution require[s] an up-or-down vote” on judicial nominees. “I will vote to support a vote, up or down, on every nominee. Understanding that, were I in the minority party and the issues reversed, I would take exactly the same position because this document, our Constitution, does not equivocate” (5/19/05).
Senator Jon Kyl (AZ): “The President was elected fair and square. He has the right to submit judicial nominees and it is the Senate’s obligation under the Constitution to act on those nominees” (4/10/08).
Senator Jeff Sessions (AL): “[The Constitution] says the Senate shall advise and consent on treaties by a two-thirds vote, and simply ‘shall advise and consent’ on nominations…. I think there is no doubt the Founders understood that to mean … confirmation of a judicial nomination requires only a simple majority vote” (7/27/03).
Senator Richard Shelby (AL): “Why not allow the President to do his job of selecting judicial nominees and let us do our job in confirming or denying them? Principles of fairness call for it and the Constitution requires it” (11/12/03).
Senator John Thune (SD): Filibustering judicial nominees “is contrary to our Constitution …. It was the Founders’ intention that the Senate dispose of them with a simple majority vote” (4/21/05).
Hypocrisy? If this isn’t it, it would be difficult to put a definition to the word.