Democrat obstructionists on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who are fighting tooth and nail to block the approval of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador are openly admitting that their obstruction is not about John Bolton---it is about blocking President Bush from being able to get his appointments approved by the Senate and block him from governing. In an unprecedented power grab, they are openly usurping the appointment power of the Chief Executive---while having the dishonest temerity to accuse him of "overreaching."
Now, Barbara Boxer has come up with another dilatory demand for additional information and will no doubt try to place another hold on the nomination. However, after researching the topic, I find that holds are not anywhere written into Senate rules or procedures. They could be over-ruled as dilitatory tactics. I also researched filibusters, which are referred to in the Senate rules as legislative filibusters---never as administrative. Presidential appointments are Executive Branch appointments and have nothing to do with the legislative function of the Senate and that is why filibusters were never used for 214 years against presidential nominees.
The cloture mechanism is a device intended to cut off debate and limit a Senator's remaining time to talk to one hour, among only 30 hours of total remaining debate. "No dilatory motion, or dilatory amendment, or amendment not germane shall be in order."Some facts and history of cloture and use of the filibuster from here:
*"A filibuster involves using such tactics in the hope of convincing the Senate to alter a measure or withdraw it from consideration. The only bills that cannot be filibustered are those few considered under provisions of law that limit time for debating them."
*"The only procedure Senate rules provide for overcoming filibusters is cloture, which cannot be voted until two days after it is proposed in a petition signed by 16 Senators. Cloture requires the support of three-fifths of Senators (normally 60), except on proposals to change the rules, when cloture requires two-thirds of Senators voting."
*"Using the filibuster to delay or block legislative action has a long history. The term filibuster -- from a Dutch word meaning "pirate" -- became popular in the 1850s, when it was applied to efforts to hold the Senate floor in order to prevent a vote on a bill."
*"In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could filibuster. As the House of Representatives grew in numbers, however, revisions to the House rules limited debate. In the smaller Senate, unlimited debate continued on the grounds that any senator should have the right to speak as long as necessary on any issue."
*"Three quarters of a century later, in 1917, senators adopted a rule (Rule 22), at the urging President Woodrow Wilson, that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote, a device known as "cloture
." The new Senate rule was first put to the test in 1919, when the Senate invoked cloture to end a filibuster against the Treaty of Versailles. Even with the new cloture rule, filibusters remained an effective means to block legislation, since a two-thirds vote is difficult to obtain." [Filibusters of Executive Branch-originated Treaties are also not authorized by the Constitution. Neither are they mentioned in the Senate rules as subject to filibuster. They are not legislation. Neither are President-appointed nominees. The Senate only has the authority of advise and consent with an up or down vote.]
*"Filibusters were particularly useful to Southern senators who sought to block civil rights legislation, including anti-lynching legislation, until cloture was invoked after a fifty-seven day filibuster against the Civil Right Act of 1964. In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds to three-fifths, or sixty of the current one hundred senators."
*"The record for the longest individual speech goes to South Carolina's J. Strom Thurmond
who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957."
It is quite telling that all of the Senate literature about filibusters relates to legislation and never to administrative appointments. Directions for suspension of the rules also apply only to legislation. There is no rule that even mentions, let alone allows filibuster of anything other than legislation. So, in the absence of enabling rules, the obstructive Senate Democrats can simply be made to produce evidence in the rules or the Constitution that allows them to filibuster Executive Branch administrative nominees of the President or be ruled out of order.
They can also be sanctioned or removed from the Congress for their disorderly, dishonest and unethical behavior. That is
in the Constitution.Information from the U.S. Constitution, found here
:Article 1, Section. 1. "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
[No judicial or executive powers are granted to the Congress---either direct or indirect or through manipulation by Senators of the advice and consent process or through extra-Constitutional judicial activism.]Article 1, Section. 5. "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide."
[members cannot be deliberately absent to shut down Senate or House business in protest of something they don't like or agree with or to prevent the President from carrying out his Constitutional and sworn duty to govern as he was elected to do.]"Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member."
[members can be punished or expelled for their disorderly behavior---which a boycott of conducting the people's business and their mandated duties would be. And, conducting political and character assassination attacks on Executive Branch nominees is not only unethical and unbefitting the honor of the Senate, it is an abuse of power and disorderly behavior. It brings dishonor to the entire Congress.]
Article 1, Section. 8. "The Congress shall have Power To...."
[This is a list of the enumerated powers of Congress. It does not include the power to appoint, to filibuster, or to place holds on Executive Branch nominees---or to set up political or ideological litmus tests nominees have to pass to be approved. Period. It also does not include any judicial powers other than the original establishment of tribunals, i.e. courts, below the level of the Supreme Court---something that has already been accomplished.]
Filibusters and holds were created to be obstructive tactics and neither are anywhere mentioned in the Constitution. Cloture is also obstructive, in that it raised the bar too high for cutting off debate. It appears to have been created to limit but retain the filibuster. Also not mentioned in the Constitution are the "powers of the minority," which is a ridiculous concept on its face. The minority party are in the minority because the voters rejected them and did not want them in the majority.
Filibusters, in particular, were created for mischief, have done a huge amount of damage---particularly in the area of civil rights---and they should be abolished. They are presently being used to obstruct the President from governing, to pack the federal courts with extreme judicial activists who unconstitutionally legislate from the bench, and to install political and ideological agendas that violate the Constitution and the voted will of the people.
The obstructive Senate Democrats, who are using filibusters, holds and the high bar for cloture to subvert the Constitution, the Executive power of the President and the will of the people, are enabled to do so by institutionalized Senate rules that were actually designed to obstruct, distort and usurp the powers of the other two branches of government. These Senators are proving to the American people that not only does power corrupt, the quest for absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Now, what we need is Republican leadership who have the cajones to challenge the insubordinate Democrats' who have dumbed Senate advice and consent down to a new low with unprecedented obstructions, hold their feet to the fire, rule them out of order and shut down their power-grabbing shake-down.
Read more about the Senate Democrats' dilatory and obstructive tactics here
__________"Bush denies Democrats Bolton files"
The Bush administration said yesterday that Democratic senators should not expect to get the documents they are seeking before they will allow an up-or-down vote on John R. Bolton, whom the president nominated to be ambassador to the United Nations. "They have what they need," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Intelligence Committee have had access to this sensitive, highly classified information. The Democrats clamoring for it have already voted against the nomination. This is about partisan politics...."
But Democrats said it's not about politics, or even about Mr. Bolton anymore. They said their filibuster is an attempt to protect the institution of the Senate against a strong and overreaching administration.
Republicans said the requests for information are just a delay tactic. The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee have seen redacted versions of the intercepts, and concluded nothing could be learned from allowing Mr. Biden to see censored versions. Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican and the committee chairman, went further, saying that releasing the intercepts to anyone else would set a bad precedent for compromising some of the most sensitive intelligence....
After the vote, Democrats made it clear that, while they may eventually have an up-or-down vote on Mr. Bolton, they don't want him to succeed. "Send us someone else," Mrs. Boxer said..."