Monday, December 17, 2001
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (R-S.D), on yesterday's "This Week" on ABC, addressed the nomination of Eugene Scalia to be solicitor for the Labor Department. Scalia is the son of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, whom many blame for awarding the presidency to George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore.
Scalia's nomination was reported out of committee weeks ago, but a vote on his nomination has still not been scheduled. The president has been pushing for the Senate to act on Scalia's nomination.
Last week Daschle told reporters that he had not scheduled a vote because "I don't think the votes are there." We can debate later whether Daschle trying to think is wise, or perhaps dangerous, but isn't the reason you usually have a vote to see if the votes are there? If he gets defeated, fine. If he gets approved, fine. If he gets filibustered, well, that may be fine too. But Daschle's refusal to schedule a vote is irresponsible.
On Sunday, however, when Daschle was queried by ABC anchor Sam Donaldson on the Scalia nomination, we heard a different excuse: "We don't have all of the paperwork." Donaldson didn't press the senator, because the issue really isn't exciting television. But this excuse is silly. What kind of paperwork do you need? A note from his mommy? The Senate knows everything about Scalia they need to to cast an informed vote. Tossing "Eugene Scalia nomination" into the Google search engine turns up press release after press release of labor organizations' opposition to the nomination. The Senate committee's transcript of Scalia's testimony is certainly available to the senators. You've got both sides, vote.