I Have a Gripe

May 15, 2010

Specter, Kagan and “Present”

This past week, President Obama announced his pick for the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan would replace soon-to-retire Justice John Paul Stevens. Kagan enjoyed bipartisan support when she was nominated for Solictor General about one year ago. That is, except for Senator Arlen Specter.

Let’s be upfront. I don’t like Senator Specter. He changes his opinions, along with his party affiliation, to cover his backside and keep himself in office. Personally, I hope he gets voted out in the upcoming election.

In typical Specter fashion, when Kagan went before the Senate for her final vote, he voted “present.”

Now I did lots of research online and was unable to find any specific information on how the present vote exactly works and when its use began. If anyone can provide specific information, I would be very appreciative.

Not that a Solicitor General vote is a “simple vote,” but this wasn’t a vote to go to war or extend unemployment benefits. This was a vote to approve one individual to a government position. Even this he couldn’t take a stand. Some say present is a “soft no,” but honestly, I’m not really sure.

So, I respectfully request Senator Specter actually make a decision and vote “aye” or “nay” on this vote and not take the spineless way out and vote “present.”

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2 Comments »

  1. “Present” is not formally in parliamentary procedure, but is in effect an abstention. Abstentions are ignored in counting votes. It comes when a role call voice vote is called and the vote of each legislator is recorded. In reality they should state abstention. I can’t find anything on how or when this “present” practice started. This link is the best explanation that I found. http://www.csufresno.edu/comm/ppqa5.htm

    Comment by Sandy — July 6, 2010 @ 4:05 am | Reply

    • Thanks for the extra info Sandy! It is really tough to find some of the background info on some of these items. Very frustrating.

      Comment by alvb1227 — July 6, 2010 @ 1:10 pm | Reply


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