Al Gore chimes in to filibuster debate

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – Former Vice President and 2000 Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore joined the judicial filibuster debate last week.

Gore gave a speech but that was the headline of a series of rallies organized by MoveOn.org, a liberal organization that encourages political activism through the internet.

“What makes it so dangerous for our country is their willingness to do serious damage to our American democracy in order to satisfy their lust for one-party domination of all three branches of government,” Gore said of Republican Senators in his speech to about 700 Democratic activists. “They seek nothing less than absolute power.”

Judicial filibusters allow opponents to prevent a vote on a judicial nomination if they have 41 votes out of the 100 member Senate. Republican Senators have recently threatened to use their majority to change parliamentary rules and ban these filibusters.

“I am genuinely dismayed and deeply concerned by the recent actions of some Republican leaders to undermine the rule of law by demanding the Senate be stripped of its right to unlimited debate where the confirmation of judges is concerned, and even to engage in outright threats and intimidation against federal judges with who they philosophically disagree,” Gore said.

During George W. Bush’s first term, Democrats used the filibuster to block confirmation on 10 appellate court nominees while 205 other judicial nominees were confirmed. Seven of the 10 blocked nominations have been resubmitted this year. Sixty votes are needed in the Senate to halt a filibuster. Even with GOP gains in the 2004 election, the Republican Party is still short of this number.

Gore’s speech came just three days after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) took part in a national simulcast sponsored by conservative Christian activists who were calling for an end to the Democratic filibusters “against people of faith.”

Gore warned Republicans of mixing religion and politics in his speech.

“Long before our founders met in Philadelphia, their forebears and ours first came to these shores to escape oppression at the hands of despots in the Old World who mixed religion with politics and claimed dominion over bother their pocketbooks and their souls,” Gore said. “This aggressive new strain of right wing zealotry is actually a throwback to the intolerance that led to the creation of America in the first place.”

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