Dear Senate Democrats

I am a rank and file Democrat. My parents and grandparents were Democrats. As a Democrat, I am extremely concerned with the filibusters that you have used against many of the President's nominations to the federal bench. The back—room deal you have just fashioned only temporarily suspends the use of this pernicious tactic. It will no doubt be back. You have already repeatedly smashed precedent and flaunted your duty in your efforts to prevent the Senate majority from confirming judicial appointments.

In the case of Miguel Estrada, you Senate Democrats demanded the release of memoranda from the Solicitor General's Office. This was a demand that had never been made of judges who have served or now serve on the federal bench. It violated the long—held Democratic commitment to equal opportunity. When Miguel Estrada asked President Bush to withdraw his nomination, it was not a political victory, but a defeat for all Democrats who believe in equal opportunity.

Democratic Senators have charged that nominees Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen are not in the judicial mainstream. Yet, both of these serving justices received more than 75% of Democratic, Republican and Independent votes when they ran for election. I can not think of one Democratic Senator who has earned such mainstream support. And the fact that Senator Kennedy called Justice Brown a "Neanderthal" is an absolutely unacceptable racist comment that should be condemned by all Americans.

Equally unacceptable is the position of some Senate Democrats who have said that the personal beliefs of William Pryor and Charles Pickering disqualify them from serving on the federal bench. These are the code words of religious bigotry. It is the Democratic Party that elected John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic President. Furthermore, Article VI of the Constitution clearly states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Article VI of the Constitution is precisely where all arguments over the filibuster of judicial nominees should and must end. It is in Article VI that the framers of the Constitution made our founding document "the supreme Law of the Land." This makes any federal, state or local law unconstitutional unless it is consistent with the Constitution. It also makes it unconstitutional for members of the Senate to have a rule that prevents the Senate from voting on a judicial nominee. These votes are required by the Constitution.

There is still one more provision of Article VI that prevents judicial filibusters.

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution."

Senators who choose not to support the Constitution violate their own Oath or Affirmation. This is a Constitutional requirement in order for them to be Members of the Senate.

For over two centuries, Senators from no one political party have ever dared, either out of respect or fear, to challenge the Constitution of our nation. For over two centuries, Senators have honored their oath to recognize the Constitution as the Law of the Land. If Senate Democrats continue to defy the Constitution through the unconstitutional use of judicial filibusters, you will do so at great political peril.

In a democracy, the majority rules. In our representative democracy, the majority of the people have elected those who serve in the House and the Senate. They have elected George W. Bush to serve as their President. Since without majority rule there can be no democracy, perhaps it would be fair for Democratic Senators who are seeking minority rule to tell the American people just what form of government they now want to impose on this nation.

Some years ago, like all the Democratic Senators, I took an oath. This was an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Back then, I would have done so... even at the cost of my own life. After all these years, I have not changed my mind.

I am a rank and file Democrat. My parents and grandparents were Democrats. As a Democrat, I am extremely concerned with the filibusters that you have used against many of the President's nominations to the federal bench. The back—room deal you have just fashioned only temporarily suspends the use of this pernicious tactic. It will no doubt be back. You have already repeatedly smashed precedent and flaunted your duty in your efforts to prevent the Senate majority from confirming judicial appointments.

In the case of Miguel Estrada, you Senate Democrats demanded the release of memoranda from the Solicitor General's Office. This was a demand that had never been made of judges who have served or now serve on the federal bench. It violated the long—held Democratic commitment to equal opportunity. When Miguel Estrada asked President Bush to withdraw his nomination, it was not a political victory, but a defeat for all Democrats who believe in equal opportunity.

Democratic Senators have charged that nominees Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen are not in the judicial mainstream. Yet, both of these serving justices received more than 75% of Democratic, Republican and Independent votes when they ran for election. I can not think of one Democratic Senator who has earned such mainstream support. And the fact that Senator Kennedy called Justice Brown a "Neanderthal" is an absolutely unacceptable racist comment that should be condemned by all Americans.

Equally unacceptable is the position of some Senate Democrats who have said that the personal beliefs of William Pryor and Charles Pickering disqualify them from serving on the federal bench. These are the code words of religious bigotry. It is the Democratic Party that elected John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic President. Furthermore, Article VI of the Constitution clearly states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Article VI of the Constitution is precisely where all arguments over the filibuster of judicial nominees should and must end. It is in Article VI that the framers of the Constitution made our founding document "the supreme Law of the Land." This makes any federal, state or local law unconstitutional unless it is consistent with the Constitution. It also makes it unconstitutional for members of the Senate to have a rule that prevents the Senate from voting on a judicial nominee. These votes are required by the Constitution.

There is still one more provision of Article VI that prevents judicial filibusters.

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution."

Senators who choose not to support the Constitution violate their own Oath or Affirmation. This is a Constitutional requirement in order for them to be Members of the Senate.

For over two centuries, Senators from no one political party have ever dared, either out of respect or fear, to challenge the Constitution of our nation. For over two centuries, Senators have honored their oath to recognize the Constitution as the Law of the Land. If Senate Democrats continue to defy the Constitution through the unconstitutional use of judicial filibusters, you will do so at great political peril.

In a democracy, the majority rules. In our representative democracy, the majority of the people have elected those who serve in the House and the Senate. They have elected George W. Bush to serve as their President. Since without majority rule there can be no democracy, perhaps it would be fair for Democratic Senators who are seeking minority rule to tell the American people just what form of government they now want to impose on this nation.

Some years ago, like all the Democratic Senators, I took an oath. This was an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Back then, I would have done so... even at the cost of my own life. After all these years, I have not changed my mind.