Below is the text of the memorandum of understanding signed by a group of 14 senators Monday night in their effort to avoid a Senate showdown regarding the use of judicial filibusters.
We respect the diligent, conscientious efforts, to date, rendered to the Senate by Majority Leader Frist and Democratic Leader Reid. This memorandum confirms an understanding among the signatories, based upon the mutual trust and confidence, related to pending and future judicial nominations in the 109th congress.
This memorandum is in two parts. Part I relates to the currently pending judicial nominees; Part II relates to subsequent individual nominations to be made by the President and be acted upon by the Senate's Judiciary Committee.
We have agreed to the following:
Part I: Commitments on Pending Judicial Nominations
A. Votes for Certain Nominees We will vote to invoke cloture on the following judicial nominees: Janice Rogers Brown (DC Circuit), William Pryor (11th Circuit), and Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit).
B. Status of Other Nominees Signatories make no commitment to vote for or against cloture on the
following judicial nominees: William Myers (9th circuit) and Henry Saad (6th circuit).
Part II: Commitments for Future Nominations
A Future Nominations Signatories will exercise their reponsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United State Constitution in good faith. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgement in determining whether such circumstances exist.
B Rules Changes In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109h congress, which we understand to be any amendment to or interpretation of the Rules of teh Senate that would force a vote on a judicial nomination by means other than unanimous consent or Rule XXII.
We believe that , under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word "advice" speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President's power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of the government to consult with members of the Senate, both democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.
Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the ranchor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.
We firmly believ this agreement is consistent with the traditions of the United States Senate that we as Senators seek to uphold.
Ben Nelson, D-Neb.
Mike DeWine, R-Ohio
Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.
Susan Collins, R-Maine
Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I.
John McCain, R-Ariz.
John Warner, R-Va.
Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.
Mary Landrieu, D-La.
Olympia Snowe, R-Maine
Ken Salazar, R-Colo.
Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii