Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: Gang of 14 filibuster deal gets Alito through to Supreme Court seat

Date: 
January 31, 2006

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 — By a 58-42 vote, the U.S. Senate today approved Judge Samuel Alito's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Alito is expected to be sworn into office later today — just hours before President Bush's State of the Union address.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court seat of Sandra Day O'Connor is a devastating blow to individual rights, civil liberties and equal justice under law in America. Specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the rights to equal access to government protections and to be free of governmental action driven by the irrational bias of others, as established in Romer v. Evans, are in jeopardy; similarly, the nature and scope of Americans' rights to privacy held in Roe v. Wade and later cases to include reproductive decisions and held in Lawrence v. Texas to include adult consensual intimate conduct are at risk. Indeed, these rights are among the primary targets of the president who nominated Alito, extreme right-wing interest groups who fought so fiercely for his appointment and the zealous conservative senators who voted to confirm him.

"'Elections have consequences' has been the resigned mantra, in the face of the failed efforts to filibuster Judge Alito's nomination and to muster sufficient votes to reject it. A true statement — one that barely begins to touch the sweeping and dangerous retrenchment of these six years and one we all need to keep front and center as we go forward.

"But was it the election that guaranteed Alito or other factors? We believe the latter. We believe that Senate progressives crippled themselves with last spring's compromise on the filibuster and the utterly failed to mount a proactive, positive campaign about what is at stake and the justice of stopping Alito, take that message to their constituencies and put it forward as a matter of our utmost core principles. When would a filibuster be used if not to stop a dangerous lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court? If, as so many senators have said in the last few months, voting on a Supreme Court nomination is one of the two most important responsibilities of the Senate under the Constitution, wasn't it worth more of a fight?"

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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.