(CNSNews.com) - A new petition urging Democratic leaders in the Senate to hold hearings on President Bush's judicial nominations has generated over 25,000 signatures, and more than 5,400 in the last two days.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) began the online petition because it believes Senate Democrats are obstructing the confirmation process for the president's nominees.
The petition, located at www.regainthemajority.com, also makes clear the Republican goal of regaining control of the Senate it lost last year when Vermont Sen. James Jeffords bolted the GOP to become an Independent and side with the Democrats. Prior to Jeffords' defection, the Senate was evenly split, 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, but the GOP maintained control because of Vice President Dick Cheney's ability to break ties in his role as president of the Senate.
During the last year, Democrats have been able to control the Senate agenda, including when and whether to hold hearings on Bush's judicial selections.
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), chairman of the NRSC, said the people signing the petition are "watching how these nominations are being obstructed by the Democratic leadership in the Senate, and they are tired of it.
"They want it to stop. They want the United States to do its job -- give fair and prompt hearings to nominees and get critically needed judges on the bench," Frist said.
The petition was first posted online at the beginning of May. Frist said he intends to personally deliver the signature list to the Senate Democratic leadership "at the appropriate time."
Dan Allen, press secretary with the NRSC, said the petition drive should motivate Democrats to move ahead with the nominations.
"Obviously, this proves that there is growing sentiment across the country that the Democrats continue to obstruct the president's judicial nominees," Allen said.
"At the very least, this is going to show that the American people are tired of the obstructionism, that they want it to stop and they want the U.S. Senate to move forward on the president's nominees and give them a fair and prompt hearing," he added.
According to the Internet site, judicialselection.org, of the eleven nominations the president sent to the Senate on May 9, 2001, only three have been confirmed and none of the remaining eight has had a hearing.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) did not return phone calls seeking reaction to the NRSC's petition drive.
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