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Why Did Republicans Boycott the Senate Judiciary Hearing on Hamilton?

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Most of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Republican members boycotted the confirmation hearing on President Obama's first judicial nominee, Judge David Hamilton.

A few weeks ago, all 41 Republican Senators sent a letter to President Obama , threatening that they will use filibusters to prevent majority votes on any nominee who will not rule based on the political agenda of the Republican senator from their home state.

Just what is that agenda? To find out, just look at the record of the judges President Bush put on the federal bench with the enthusiastic support of these same Republican senators. Recent appointees to the courts of appeals found that:

  • Consumers can be required to pay for merchandise received in the mail even if they never ordered it.
  • Hospital executives could fire a nurse after she said publicly that she believed new staffing policies jeopardized the health of mothers and their babies.
  • An employee could be fired for complaining about serious racially inflammatory comments in the workplace.

Republicans were all in favor of a straight majority vote -- with no filibustering -- to support judges with that kind of political agenda.

With the appointment of Judge Hamilton, President Obama has signaled that he will nominate highly qualified judges who will uphold our Constitution and the law to provide equal justice and protect personal freedoms for everyone in America, not just a few.

The boycott is especially ironic given that Judge Hamilton not only meets those high standards, he is supported by the Republican Senator from his home state of Indiana, Richard Lugar (R-IN).

Still not sure that the Republicans are doing all they can to ensure the courts carry out their political agenda? What else explains the blatant hypocrisy of saying the Senate had no right to question President Bush's nominees, but President Obama must first get the Republicans' blessing before making his nominations?

Look at what Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) said to Democrats about President Bush's nominees in a statement on the floor of the Senate in 2006:

"We simply do not have the prerogative of deciding who it is we would prefer to see on the Court or who it is we might find more philosophically suitable to us or more to our liking."

The American people can't let the Republicans block nominees who don't support their political agenda. We can't continue to have a country where there is one set of rules for a few at the top and a different set for the rest of us.

Find out more about Judge Hamilton and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals at www.allianceforjustice.org.