Open letter to President Obama (Part 73)

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

I know that you have complained about not getting all your appointments through the Senate. Max Brantley called it a cold war between the White House and the Republicans in the Senate over these appointments that were being held up. Today he jumps on this again in the Arkansas Times Blog (March 2, 2012).

Where did this “cold war” start? I contend that it started back during the Bush years when Mark Pryor and his Democratic buddies were holding up judges like Miguel Estrada for no good reason.

Paul Greenberg in the editorial “Dept. of Hypocrisy: Mark Pryor’s Selective Outrage,”  (May 3, 2010) pointed out that Pryor was angry that Republicans were holding up the  President’s picks for the federal bench. ”There’s just no place for this in the Senate,” he huffs. “There’s no place just to play partisan political games with these judicial appointments.” Greenberg went on to show how hypocritical this was of Pryor.

Liberal columnists seem to be the most hypocritical though. Take a look at this article below that shows how the NY Times keeps changing their opinion on this according to who is in the White House:

Elizabeth Garvey

February 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

In an editorial last month, The New York Times argued that the Senate should adopt President Obama’s plan requiring the Senate to vote on judicial nominees within 90 days—thus eliminating the filibuster as applied to those nominations.  The Times notes that this is a “major change in position” from its stance that the filibuster “goes to the center of the peculiar but effective form of government America cherishes.”  As Ed Whelan pointed out, this is not the first time the Times has reversed course on the use of the filibuster.  In 1995, the Times argued that the Senate, or “the greatest obstructive body,” should stop using the filibuster as it had “become the tool of the sore loser.”

Whelan noted that coincidentally, the Times opposed the filibuster when Senate Republicans used it to stall President Clinton’s executive-branch nominees but “hailed” its existence when it was used to block a number of President Bush’s judicial nominees.  So, we won’t be surprised when the Times’ latest reluctant revelation that the filibuster “threaten[s] to paralyze government” us reversed yet again during the next Republican administration.

As for Obama, he voted as a Senator to filibuster a number of President Bush’s nominees—including Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito and Court of Appeals Judges Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, Priscilla Owen, and Leslie Southwick (and as Whelan discusses, Senator Obama not only voted for filibuster but led the unsuccessful attack against Southwick).  As president, Obama now opposes the filibuster since it’s been used to thwart some of his nominees, including Goodwin Liu and Caitlin Halligan.

What the Times doesn’t discuss is one rather obvious reason why President Obama is calling for the Senate to change its rules now.  The proposal itself raises the stakes if conservatives in the Senate slow down confirmation of judicial nominations to challenge the President’s recent unconstitutional “recess” appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the NLRB.  As Hans von Spakovsky discusses in this recent piece, conservative senators have yet to take meaningful action in response to the president’s purported recess appointments, but there reportedly are some senators who want to follow in the steps of Senator Robert Byrd, who infamously challenged President Reagan’s recess appointments by holding up a variety of Executive Branch nominees and even 5,000 military promotions.  Eliminating the filibuster would further neuter the Senate in the face of future, illegal recess appointments—as the New York Times certainly knows.


Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your committment as a father and a husband.


Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733,

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