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Dear Editor:

Although President Bush has made numerous efforts to reach out in a bi-partisan fashion, Senate Democrats are continuing to block his well-qualified nominees to the courts. Even with over 100 vacancies now waiting to be filled on the federal bench, powerful Senators, such as Leahy, Kennedy and Schumer, are obstructing the process by applying ideological litmus tests to potential judges, thereby abusing their "advise and consent" role under our U.S. Constitution

New Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), has previously stated that courtesy and deference should be given Presidents in their selection of federal judges. In Senate Floor Remarks June 16, 1997, Leahy said: "A President should be given a great deal of latitude on who he nominates to the Federal court."(Congressional Record) Senator Kennedy, on March 7, 2000, also said on the Senate floor: "The President was given the authority to nominate federal judges with the advice and consent of the Senate. The clear intent was for the Senate to work with the President, not against him, in this process."

These Senators should be held accountable in applying their own standards and the same fair rules to the President's judicial appointments. All Americans ought to urge both Judiciary Committee members and their Senators to abandon partisan wrangling in this important process, and quickly move to consider and confirm all nominees based solely on their competency.


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