August 4, 2013

Another View: Collins breaks her word in filibuster of judicial nominee

A recent attempt to block an appointed judge shows she thinks we're not paying attention.

By TOBY HOLLANDER

Michael Cuzzi's recent column "Senate action shows attitude readjustment not filibuster reform" (July 12) misses a good opportunity to provide some important history regarding the role of our Sen. Susan Collins on this important issue.

As a refresher, readers might remember that Sen. Collins was a member of the "Gang of Eight" that reached a compromise agreement between Democrats and Republicans on the use of the filibuster to block presidential judicial nominations. In this agreeement, the parties agreed that they would not filibuster a judicial appointee unless they had a good-faith opposition based upon a serious ethical or qualification basis.

Recently, she has filibustered the appointment of a judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit but said she would be pleased to support her nomination to any other judgeship, essentially conceding qualifications.

The significance of this is that she broke her word about using filibusters on judicial nominations. (Her justification in this case? "There are too many judges sitting on that court.")

If that is her objection, it violates her word as the "Gang of Eight"; moreover, she is free to change the law that set the number of judicial seats in the judicial branch. Her filibuster was dishonest.

Maine is a state where your word is your bond. It's very disappointing when you see respected members of the community violate their word. They think we're not noticing.

Toby Hollander is a resident of Portland.

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