The NAACP responded to the U.S. Senate’s vote to change Senate filibuster rules and lower the threshold for approval of executive and judicial nominees from 61 votes to 50. The move has been called a “nuclear” change by some critics.
President Obama also applauded the decision to change the rules on filibusters, saying too many of his nominees and initiatives have been blocked by Republicans for strictly partisan reasons.
“This rule change is a victory for democracy,” stated Lorraine C. Miller, Interim President and CEO of the NAACP. “We have been frustrated and outraged by the obstructionist and counterproductive actions of Senate extremists in recent years. Doesn’t the President of the United States have the right to his choice of nominees to fill positions within his Administration? This is an important step toward reform.”
“The NAACP appreciates and commends Majority Leader Reid for taking courageous steps to allow straight up-or-down votes on the nominations of highly qualified individuals,” stated Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Sr. Vice President for Advocacy and Policy and Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau. “The NAACP is no stranger to obstructionist tactics: they were used to block key civil rights legislation throughout history, including anti-lynching legislation introduced in the early 1900’s.”
Recently, four of President Obama’s appointees failed to meet the 60-vote threshold: Congressman Melvin “Mel” Watt, Patricia Millett, Cornelia “Nina” Pillard and Judge Robert Wilkins.
The NAACP works closely with the Democracy Initiative, a group that promotes reform in money in politics, senate rules and voting rights.