Bill Frist on the Senate Floor

In response to Democratic suggestion that “non-controversial” judges hit the floor first:
Senator Frist on the Senate Floor:

Mr. President as always we will take into consideration all suggestions and be happy to talk to the leadership on both sides of the aisle as to whether that suggestion is the most appropriate way. We have engaged in negotiations in attempts to satisfy both sides for the over the last really four months, five months since these unprecedented filibusters came before this body after 214 years of a threshold of fifty votes, all of a sudden the last congress it was radically changed by the last congress to become 60 votes denying the sort of people like a little bit what we’ve heard over the last few minutes, trying to move to a qualified nominee, Priscilla Owen, and we hear these attempts to delay even right now and to sidetrack and consider somebody else, and that’s the challenge. That’s why we’re on the floor of the United States Senate, with the light of day, with the American people watching at this point to take it to the body of the United States Senate and ask that fundamental question. Is Priscilla Owen out of the mainstream? Eighty-four percent of Texans think she’s in the mainstream, are eighty-four percent of Texans out of the mainstream? And if the answer to that question is no, they’re not out of the mainstream, then all we want is a vote, an up or down vote. Accept, reject, confirm, yes, no. That’s all that we’re asking for. We don’t want the Constitutional Option. We didn’t ask for the Constitutional option. What has happened, because of the other side of the aisle in shattering the Senate tradition for 214 years where filibuster was never even contemplated, now it’s being used on a routine basis. One out of every four of the President’s nominees that have come over for the circuit courts are filibustered, blocked. Not given that responsibility or given that courtesy of a vote, when it’s our responsibility to give advice and consent. So in response to my good friend Democratic leader, yes, let’s consider, as proposals come forward, we’ll consider all the two leaders spent 50 minutes as the papers reported today talking with people who are trying to come to some reasonable conclusion and we’ll continue to do that. I’d be happy to consider another idea. I think what’s important now though is to come to the floor of the United States Senate. Let’s shed light on this, let’s do take this, yes it’s an inside the Senate decision, and we make our traditions and rules, but it is important for the American people to see. Is Priscilla Owen, is Janice Rogers Brown, deserving of a vote, yes or no, on the floor of the United States Senate. So what I would recommend is that we continue discussions, but let’s proceed with this nominee, continue debate over the course of the day and it may take a day, it may take two days, and let’s answer that question. Is she qualified, does she deserve an up or down vote?

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