Senate Dems Offer 'Personal Constitution'

Download your "exclusive personal Constitution." And while you're at it, how about a few bucks for Senate Democrats.

That is the thrust of an appeal from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (search), issued Thursday under the name of Sen. Robert C. Byrd (search).

"I carry a pocket-sized edition of the Constitution with me every where I go, whether I'm back home in West Virginia or speaking out on the Senate floor," it says. "Now you can, too. You can download and print the DSCC's exclusive personal Constitution."

When printed, it runs eight pages. Each bears the campaign organization's logo as well as its name and Web site in a type size larger than historic text's.

Byrd's appeal accuses Republicans of threatening to "undermine the system of checks and balances described in the Constitution (search) and the fundamental rights we hold dear" by changing the rules governing confirmation of judges.

"The best way to defend the Constitution is to elect more Democrats to the United States Senate," he said, before adding a postscript.

"If you care about defending the Constitution, please help the DSCC win in 2006 by making a generous contribution today."

Currently, it takes 60 votes to end debate on either a nomination or legislation, a provision embedded in the rules that gives the minority the ability to filibuster. Minority Democrats used that right during President Bush's first term to block confirmation of several nominees to appeals courts.

Republicans, who gained four Senate seats in last year's elections and now hold 55, have threatened to change that rule by majority vote if Democrats persist.

The GOP senatorial committee swiftly responded with a point-by-point rebuttal of Byrd's claims. In 1977, Byrd broke a filibuster using a simple majority of senators, it added.

The West Virginian, who was majority leader at the time, said in a recent floor speech that and other similar claims by Republicans were "dead wrong."