Catholic Senator called anti-abortion ad un-Christian

Catholic Senator called anti-abortion ad un-Christian

The political arms of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council launched a new ad campaign calling on grassroots pro-life advocates to make their views known concerning the judicial system and the need for reform

But, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, a freshman Democrat, says he doesn’t like the ads and called the groups “un-Christian” for running them.

I don’t think Sen Salazar has a leg to stand on:

      "I think the ads are wrong,” Salazar told the Longmont, Colorado newspaper. “They orchestrate a position to break the rules and support the abuse of power we see here in Washington, D.C., today.”

What rules does he think they advocate breaking? He doesn’t say. The Senators have a right to make the Senate rules and a right to change them.

Sean Rushton notes in Filibuster Rules: Then & Now in *National Review Online *that despite Sen. Joe Lieberman’s press conference criticizing Republican efforts to allow Judicial nominees to be approved by a simple majority votes, he seems to ignore an even more far ranging bill that the NY Times recently said would go “even further than the ‘nuclear option’ in eliminating the power of the filibuster.”

That proposal would amend Senate rules to end all filibusters, not just those against judicial nominees. The proposal’s sponsor said that “the filibuster rules are unconstitutional” and was quoted as saying “the filibuster is nothing short of legislative piracy.” He announced his intent to end all filibusters with an unambiguous statement: “We cannot allow the filibuster to bring Congress to a grinding halt. So today I start a drive to do away with a dinosaur — the filibuster rule.”

Despite its support by several senior senators, you haven’t heard about this proposal in the MoveOn.org ads blasting Senate Republicans. And you probably haven’t heard about it from Senate Democrats who now give their full-throated support to filibusters against President Bush’s nominees. Why? Because the proposal wasn’t offered by Republicans; it was introduced in 1995 by senior Democrats, including Sens. Lieberman and Tom Harkin (D., Iowa). When it came to a vote, 19 Democrats, including leading blue-state senators such as Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, supported the measure.

Unlike the attempts by Democrats to end all filibusters, the effort by Senate Republicans is limited to the judicial confirmation process.

Sen. Salazar is either ignorant of the history of the filibuster or conveniently tries to ignore it. The same NRO article continues:

Despite efforts by special-interest groups on the left and their champions in the Senate, there is nothing sacrosanct about the filibuster of nominees — regardless of the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington imagery Democrats now conjure in support of filibuster rules, the same rules they once called “legislative piracy.” Our founders did not use filibusters. In fact, for the first several Congresses (from 1789 to 1806), a majority of senators always had the power to bring debate to a close (cloture) by a majority vote.

Rules guaranteeing up-or-down majority votes and abolishing the filibuster in various contexts are commonplace in modern Congresses as well. In fact, there are at least 26 laws on the books today abrogating the filibuster. For example:

http://www.nationalreview.com/images/bullet_10x16.gif You cannot filibuster a federal budget resolution (Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974).
http://www.nationalreview.com/images/bullet_10x16.gif You cannot filibuster a resolution authorizing the use of force (War Powers Resolution).
http://www.nationalreview.com/images/bullet_10x16.gif You cannot filibuster international trade agreements (Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002).
http://www.nationalreview.com/images/bullet_10x16.gif And as the minority leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.), well knows, you cannot filibuster legislation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.

The vote on the Harkin proposal was not the only effort to reform Senate rules. It is important to note that in 1975 the Senate voted three times in support of the power of a Senate majority under Article I of the Constitution to change the rules. …

So the restoration of Senate rules and traditions for judicial nominees enjoys both historical support and Senate precedent. But the constitutional power of a majority of Senators to strengthen, improve, and reform Senate rules and procedures is also expressly stated in the Constitution, and was unanimously endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Ballin.

All in all it seems rather hypocritical for Sens. Lieberman et al to champion the complete abolition of the filibuster when it suits their purposes and then to claim the Republicans are “breaking the rules” when they attempt to do the same thing (for more valid reasons) on a much smaller and more limited scale.

Articles from the Colorado paper Rocky Mountain News:

Salazar slams Focus
Salazar lets fly
Sen. Ken Salazar’s letter to Dr. James Dobson

Noted from the last link:

My faith is the cornerstone of my values, as I am sure it is with you [Chairman Dobson] as well.

As some of you know, I think Salazar was denying that (essentially) when campaigning against Catholic Pete Coors. At least Coors could demonstrate he lives with his faith, Salazar could not.

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