Statement on the Filibuster Deal

May 24, 2005

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"We recognize that the deal reached last night rebuffed the extreme position of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the right-wing leaders who have been scripting him, and preserved — at least for now — some form of extended debate to protect minority interests. Nonetheless, we feel a deep foreboding that, with this compromise, the Senate may turn out to have lost sight of critically important trees with the hope of possibly saving the forest:

  • The wholly unlawful 'nuclear option' is retained, and Frist and his extremist allies have already threatened to use it.

  • Three of the most dangerous, extreme and activist candidates ever nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals will get votes on the Senate floor.

  • The time-honored and wholly constitutional Senate tradition of the filibuster — the last line of defense for minority interests — has now been conditioned to be used only in 'extraordinary circumstances,' which are to be decided, effectively, by 14 senators, possibly putting out of reach the ability to stop nominees who would change the Constitution as we know it.

"We hope that the actions of these senators will result in more constructive consultation between the White House and moderate Republicans and Democrats about judicial nominations, resulting in acceptable, mainstream nominees. Our hopes in this regard are not high.

"In the meantime, we will join with fair-minded Americans in working to defeat these three extremist nominees now cleared for a vote on the Senate floor."


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.