HNBA Letter Urging Senators to Vote for Cloture on the DREAM Act
We write to urge you to vote for cloture on the DREAM Act.
The Constitution mandates that the enactment of law requires a simple majority. However, the filibuster has grown dramatically over a very short period of time. Indeed, the 111th Congress has blocked well over 200 pieces of legislation. The Senate minority has effectively held hostage the legislative process. As legal professionals, constitutional scholars and members of the electorate, we consider this conduct antithetical to democracy and fear that this generation’s legacy will be marked by inaction.
We are mindful of the broader implications of the abuse of filibustering, particularly as it relates to legislation that impacts the disenfranchised, marginalized and voiceless. The Senators who repeatedly sought to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s compromised the legislative process in the name of deeply held personal convictions and political expedience. Those convictions and political maneuvers, as history has shown us, drastically impeded the best interests of all of the people of the United States.
We acknowledge that there are differences in opinion among your constituents with respect to the DREAM Act. However, just as we are bound by our professional oaths as lawyers, so too does legislative integrity define your actions as lawmakers. We applaud Senator Harkin who recently voted for cloture on a piece of legislation with which he disagreed, putting the people’s work before personal interests. Political gridlock cannot be tolerated in a society in which there is so much work to be done to improve conditions for all.
We believe that government should respect the tradition of responding to unresolved societal issues. In these final days of active session, we call upon you to untie the tangled knot of inaction by voting for cloture on the DREAM Act. The American people deserve a Government that undertakes the work it was elected to perform.
America was built on the promise of fairness and justice for all. Voting for cloture on the DREAM Act is an opportunity to restore the people’s confidence in Government by allowing legislation on a pressing issue to come before the Senate. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the best of our democratic system and one which has the potential to benefit the entire nation.
Hispanic National Bar Association
Puerto Rican Bar Association