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Robert Byrd
Sen. Robert Byrd
Washington, DC


Washington, DC 20000

signficant courage on filibuster but perhaps not "media"

Below excerpted from Senator Byrd's remarks in the Senate against the "nuclear option":

In a culture where sports metaphors are more common public parlance than historical analogies, our unique form of government, carefully restraining powers while protecting rights, presents a special challenge to maintain. The "winning is everything" philosophy so beloved by Americans may, without careful balance, obscure the goal of justice for all that must be the aim of a representative democracy. Demeaning minority views, characterizing opposition as obstructionist, these are first steps down the dark alley of subjugating rights.

Majorities can prevail by numerical force; they do not need protection from minorities. Yet, some would have us believe that minority voices threaten the larger public good in the case of presidential judicial appointments. The opposite is true. It is minorities who are most in jeopardy without fairness from the Federal bench. The persecuted, the disadvantaged, the poor, the downtrodden - - these are the very citizens who need the strong protection of an unbiased legal system. Appointees to the Federal Bench should be scrutinized for traces of ideological rigidity, or allegiance to political movements which could cloud impartial judgment. I, for one, do not favor activist judges of any stripe. I do not think that the proper role for a judge is to make new law from the bench, and my own preference is usually for strict Constitutionalists. "Conservative" judges can hold activist views just as can "liberal" judges. Such labels tell us very little. What we should strive for on the Federal bench is blind justice, that is justice absent a political agenda.