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Democrat Filibuster Against Any Nominee Who Is Faith-Based
Sound like a hate crime?

President Bush's judicial nominees deserve an up or down vote, but the unprecedented judicial filibuster is imposing an artificial 2/3 majority requirement on the Senate�a scenario never envisioned by the founders, who required only a majority vote on judicial nominees after much debate. Take Action  - www.UpOrDownVote.com (More resources here.)

"Democrats have not had a very good run recently in the popularly elected branches. Since choosing the wrong side of the counterculture wars of the 1960s, they have won only three of the last 10 presidential elections. A decade ago they lost control of the House for the first time in 40 years, and now have lost all the elected branches. They are in a panic that they will lose their one remaining ability to legislate -- through the courts." Charles Krauthammer

Ted Kennedy 1975: "Again and again in recent years, the filibuster has been the shame of the Senate and the last resort of special-interest groups. Too often, it has enabled a small minority of the Senate to prevent a strong majority from working its will and serving the public interest." (More hypocrisy below.)

The real reason for the liberal filibuster: "Why are Senate Democrats so afraid of conservative judicial nominees who are African Americans, Hispanics, Catholics, and women? Because these...nominees threaten to split the Democrat base by aligning conservative Republicans with conservative voices in the minority community and appealing to suburban women." Steven Calabresi

And from Concerned Woman for America - Leaked Memos Reveal Democrats� Strategy for Judges 5/11/2005 - They show a �win at any cost� mentality. Several memos directed to key Democratic senators on judicial nominations were leaked in late 2003 to the Wall Street Journal, which published an editorial about them. The memos disclose the strategies underlying Senate Democrats� pattern of obstruction of President George W. Bush�s judicial nominees.

The memos reveal:

The tactics in these memos continue today, nearly 2 � years later, through the misuse of the filibuster, which has prevented 10 of President Bush�s nominees to receive up or down votes on the Senate floor. To read the memos, click here. For more information about the memos, visit Coalition for a Free Judiciary.

Talking Points in Support of a Judicial Nominee An appropriate nominee passes the only "litmus test" that matters-he or she is pro-Constitution.


Although the Constitution specifically requires supermajority votes to expel a Member of Congress, ratify treaties or amend the Constitution, it imposes no such requirement for the confirmation of federal judges.  According to Article II, Section 2, the President, �by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint � Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States��  For more than 200 years, this has meant that federal judges are confirmed with a majority vote of the Senate.

The U.S. Constitution uses very specific language when a supermajority vote is required.  For instance, Article I, Section 5, states that a house of Congress can �expel a Member� only �with the Concurrence of two thirds.�  Article V instructs that the �Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution��  And, just before explaining how judges are appointed and confirmed, the Constitution says that the President �shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur��

The Constitution's Article VI: "The Senators and Representatives..., and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support his Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Alexander Hamilton, wrote in the Federalist Papers; "It will be the office of the President to nominate, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint. There will, of course, be no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves choose, they can only ratify or reject the choice of the President."


If you are pro-life ... pro-family ... and a Christian - then you are unfit to be a judge, according to minority liberal Senators.

Disinformation on judges by Thomas Sowell (4/26/2005) The future of the legal and political system of this country may be on the line when two judicial nominees that the Democrats refused to let the Senate vote on in the last Congress are being again submitted for a vote. ...Judges who decide cases on the basis of the plain meaning of the words in the laws -- like Justices Brown and Owen -- may be what most of the public want but such judges are anathema to liberals.  The courts are the last hope for enacting the liberal agenda because liberals cannot get enough votes to control Congress or most state legislatures. Unelected judges can cut the voters out of the loop and decree liberal dogma as the law of the land.  Liberals don't want that stopped.


Christian Coalition April 29, 2005 Washington weekly Review

Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen's Nomination Filibustered for 4 Years on May 9th; Senate Republican Leadership Urged to Hold Vote Week of May 9th Christian Coalition of America urges the Senate Republican leadership to hold a vote on Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen during the week of May 9th. Justice Owen's nomination will have been filibustered by left-wing Democrat Senators 4 years on May 9th. President George W. Bush nominated Priscilla Owen on May 9, 2001, along with a number of other highly-qualified nominees to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, all of whom have been given qualified ratings by the liberal American Bar Association. It is way past time for these left-wing Senators to give Justice Priscilla Owen -- and other nominees who have been filibustered -- an up or down vote on the Senate floor. Note the number of days, during which the following nominees have been filibustered (an incredible 1450 days of filibustering in the cases of Priscilla Owen and Terrence Boyle):

Days Pending for Bush Appeals Court

Nominee

Janice Rogers Brown, D.C. Circuit
Thomas Griffith, D.C. Circuit
Brett Kavanaugh, D.C. Circuit
Terrence Boyle, Fourth Circuit
William Haynes, Fourth Circuit
Priscilla Owen, Fifth Circuit
Richard Griffin, Sixth Circuit
David McKeague, Sixth Circuit
Susan Neilson, Sixth Circuit
Henry Saad, Sixth Circuit
William Myers, Ninth Circuit
William Pryor, Eleventh Circuit

Nomination Date

7/25/03
5/10/04
7/25/03
5/9/01
9/29/03
5/9/01
6/26/02
11/8/01
11/8/01
11/8/01
5/15/03
4/9/03

Current

4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05
4/29/05

Days Pending

644
354
644
1450
578
1450
1038
1268
1268
1268
715
751


Lies, Damn Lies and the Fight Over Judicial Confirmations  In today's political climate, partisan street brawls are the norm, not the exception, in our nation's capital. Whether the issue is Social Security reform, the war in Iraq, a national energy plan or which forgotten somebody should appear on the next commemorative stamp, Washington has become notorious for its bloody battles. For the most part, fact-based substantive arguments are usually presented by both sides to support their heated rhetoric. But occasionally an issue comes along that makes one side so desperate, so frantic, that lies and misinformation -- not facts -- dominate their messaging. Such is the case in the current battle royale over judicial confirmations in the Senate. ...In their latest attempt to squash the Constitutional Option, Senate Democrats have resorted to yet another fabrication. Reading straight from a memo handed to them by their special interest friends, Democrats are now saying that �use of the filibuster against judicial nominations has a long history.�  As evidence, they argue that the nominations of Richard Paez and Marsha Berzon, two of President Clinton�s picks to serve on the Ninth Circuit, were subjected to Republican-led filibusters. Not so. In 2000, then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott used cloture motions to overcome individual Senators� holds on Judge Paez and Judge Berzon and to move their nominations to up-or-down votes on the Senate floor.  Both were confirmed and sit on the Ninth Circuit today.  Indeed, Judge Paez received 59 votes, one shy of the 60 votes Senate Democrats are requiring now. As Senator John Cornyn recently pointed out, �If these nominees are their examples of filibusters, it is then fair to ask that the Senate treat President Bush�s nominees the same: by having an up-or-down vote on their nominations.�

Liberals rally around judicial supremacy by Phyllis Schlafly (4/25/2005) A recent small gathering of conservatives who dared to criticize judicial supremacists has caused an outpouring of paranoia among liberals and others who want judges to make the major social and political decisions of our times. ...Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 78 made clear that the power of judicial review does not "by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power." Instead, our written Constitution is superior to all branches of government, and the judicial branch is merely the agent of the Constitution, not its master. As explained further in the famous 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision, the Constitution is "a rule for the government of courts, as well as the legislature," and "courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument." Abraham Lincoln had it exactly right in arguing for limiting the impact of the Dred Scott decision. He said it should be binding only on the parties to "that particular case," that it must be "overruled, and never become a precedent for other cases." Continuing, Lincoln warned: "If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, ... the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."

A time for choosing II by Cal Thomas (4/25/2005) Some Democrats, like West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, who once favored majority rule when his party ruled the Senate, oppose it now that Republicans hold the majority. In the 1970s, Byrd and his fellow Democrats voted to end filibusters and in favor of a simple majority when it suited their political and legislative goals. Democrats, then, didn't worry about a loss of comity and what Republicans might do to them a decade or two later. They simply used the power they had to achieve their objectives, which is precisely what Republicans should do now.


The constitutional option: What's really at stake by David Limbaugh (4/22/2005) The Senate does not have coequal authority with the president on judicial appointments as the advice-and-consent function was not intended to confer veto power on the Senate. ...This whole flap is not that complicated. Republicans won the presidential and congressional elections. The Republican president is therefore entitled under the Constitution to appoint judges, with the Senate having the right to pass on the competency and character of the nominees. The Senate does not have coequal authority with the president on judicial appointments as the advice-and-consent function was not intended to confer veto power on the Senate. While Democrats are doing most of the bellyaching, they drew first blood in this skirmish by changing the ground rules in reversing nearly half a century of precedent by filibustering certain judicial nominations. In response, Republicans have threatened that unless the Democrats quit breaking the rules, they will implement a formal rule change to effect a restoration of the status quo such that judicial nominees can be confirmed on a simple majority vote of the Senate. ...But let's not forget that they (Democrats) are the ones who went "nuclear" in the first place by departing from the established practice of not filibustering judicial nominations. ...Under our system, the people elect the president and Congress, and those two branches set policy for the government. The judiciary was never intended to be a policy-making branch. Yet Democrats, for decades have been willfully violating the Constitution by using the courts to make laws and set policy -- often in derogation of the policies already set by the other two political branches.


Judicial Filibuster, No; Legislative Filibuster, Yes - There has been some confusion about opposition to the Democratic filibuster on judicial nominees. Many supporters of the Democrats' obstructionism, and even a few of our friends, object to efforts to break the filibuster because they say, this could lead to the loss of the use of the filibuster for legislation. This simply is not the case. No one has recommended eliminating the longstanding Senate tradition that enables 41 Senators to delay or block a vote on legislation. This is an important tool within Senate rules that long provided the minority another vehicle to seek consensus and to offer amendments that shape legislation to a better outcome. This, however, is irrelevant with judicial nominees, who must either be accepted or rejected.

The judicial filibuster is also unconstitutional, as it prohibits the Senate from fulfilling its constitutional duty to advise and consent. The current filibuster by the minority party on judicial nominations conflicts with the Constitution and with Senate tradition. Unfortunately, if Senate liberals will not abandon this new and destructive tactic the only way to restore order within the Senate is to confront the judicial filibuster directly with a clarification of Senate rules. A filibuster of legislation is both constitutional and within the rules of the Senate; a filibuster of judges is unconstitutional and a break with Senate tradition. The two should not be confused. (Family Research Council)

Additional Resources
Solving the Judicial Nomination Crisis
Questions and Answers: Why Should I Care About Judges and Judicial Nominations

Reclaiming America
Filibuster Factsheet
Make certain your voice is heard in Washington on this critical matter

Liberty Counsel
Petition to End Judicial Filibusters
The Senate must abolish the filibuster for judicial appointments. If we do not return to the constitutional design and abolish the judicial filibuster now, then we can forget about any hope of appointing qualified Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Your voice in this matter is crucial. I urge you to sign Liberty Counsel's Petition to End Judicial Filibusters. Forward this email to your friends and ask them to sign the Petition. The future of the courts, including the Supreme Court, cannot be taken lightly. President Bush's nominees deserve an up or down vote. It is likely this year we will enter into the biggest battle for the next Supreme Court Justice we have ever seen. We need to make sure the judicial filibuster rule is abolished by then so that a a few liberal Senators cannot subvert the Constitution and, in the process, undermine life and liberty. Please sign the Petition now and let your voice be heard. This Petition is also posted on our web site at http://www.LC.org.
 


The Hypocrisy of Liberal Democrats

Democrat Senator Tom Daschle on October 5, 1999 "As Chief Justice Rehnquist has recognized: �The Senate is surely under no obligation to confirm any particular nominee, but after the necessary time for inquiry it should vote him up or vote him down.' An up or down vote, that is all we ask." And: The Republican majority should not be allowed to cherry-pick among nominees, allowing some to be confirmed in weeks, while letting other nominations languish for years. . . . Let the Senate vote on every nomination.

March 9, 2000 There is going to be no payback. We are not going to do to Republican nominees, whenever that happens, what they have done to Democratic nominees. Why? Because it is not right. Will we differ? Absolutely. Will we have votes and vote against nominees on the basis of whatever we choose? Absolutely. But are we going to make them wait for years and years to get their fair opportunity to be voted on and considered? Absolutely not. That is not right. I do not care who is in charge. I do not care which President is making the nomination. That is not right.

Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy on February 3, 1998 "We owe it to Americans across the country to give these nominees a vote. If our Republican colleagues don't like them, vote against them. But give them a vote." 

September 21, 1999 Many of us have been concerned about the Senate's continuing delays in acting on President Clinton's nominees to the federal courts . . . . This kind of partisan, Republican stonewalling is irresponsible and unacceptable. It's hurting the courts and it's hurting the country. . . . The continuing delays are a gross perversion of the confirmation process that has served this country well for more than 200 years. When the Founders wrote the Constitution and gave the Senate the power of advice and consent on Presidential nominations, they never intended the Senate to work against the President. . . .

March 7, 2000 Over 200 years ago, the Framers of the Constitution created a system of checks and balances to ensure that excessive power is not concentrated in any branch of government. The President was given the authority to nominate federal judges with the advice and consent of the Senate. The clear intent was for the Senate to work with the President, not against him, in this process.

Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy on June, 18 1998: "I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported."

And also in 1998:  "I have stated over and over on this floor that I would...object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported.... If we don't like somebody the president nominates, vote him or her up or down. But don't hold him in unconscionable limbo, because in doing that, the minority of senators really shame all senators."

September 8, 1999 We are not being responsible. We are being dishonest, condescending, and arrogant toward the judiciary. It deserves better and the American people deserve better. . . . Nominees deserve to be treated with dignity and dispatch. . . . We are seeing outstanding nominees nitpicked and delayed to the point that good women and men are being deterred from seeking to serve as federal judges.

September 21, 1999 I hope we will have a chance to vote on them, not just in committee . . . but on the floor of the Senate. That is what the Constitution speaks of in our advise and consent capacity. That is what these good and decent people have a right to expect. That is what our oath of office should compel Members to do - to vote for or against. I do not question the judgement or conscience of any man or woman in this Senate if they vote differently that I do, but vote.

October 1, 1999 We should be the conscience of the Nation. On some occasions we have been. But we tarnish the conscience of this great Nation if we establish the precedence of partisanship and rancor that go against all precedents and set the Senate on a course of meanness and smallness . . . . For the last several years, I have been urging the Judiciary Committee and the Senate to proceed to consider and confirm judicial nominees more promptly, without the months of delay that now accompany so many nominations.

March 8, 2000 There are only 100 of us who are elected to represent a quarter of a billion Americans. . . . Let us not play silly parliamentary games and tell the American people we do not have the guts to vote . . .

July 21, 2000 If I could make a recommendation, I would join an unusual ally in that. Gov. George W. Bush of Texas (stated that) presidential nominations should be acted upon by the Senate within 60 days. He said: 'The Constitution . . does not empower anyone to turn the process into a protracted ordeal of unreasonable delay and unrelenting investigation. Yet somewhere along the way, that is what Senate confirmations became - lengthy, partisan, and unpleasant. It has done enough harm, injured too many good people, and it must not happen again.' Governor Bush is right. . . . I have said the same thing.

July 25, 2000 One of the things that most Republicans and Democrats ought to be able to agree on is what (then-)Governor Bush said: Do it and vote them up or down in 60 days. Let's make a decision.

October 5, 2000 Either vote for them or vote against them. Don't leave people . . . just hanging forever with even getting a rollcall vote. That is wrong. It is not a responsible way and besmirches the Senate. . . .

Senator Tom Harkin October 3, 2000 I hope the Judiciary Committee and the leadership on that side. . .will listen to the words of Texas Governor George Bush. He said he would call for a 60-day deadline for judges - once they are nominated, the Senate will have 60 days to hold a hearing, to report out of committee and vote on the Senate floor. . . . If he said he would call for a 60-day deadline, I ask my friends on the Republican side: Why don't we act accordingly?

Democrat Senator Harry Reid March 9, 2000 This is one of our enumerated duties in the Constitution. . . . I ask my colleagues to take their constitutional duty seriously and vote for these nominees on the basis of their objective qualifications, and not on the basis of petty politics. This process is much too important to the citizens of this great democracy to do otherwise.

June 9, 2000 "I think we should have up-or-down votes in the committee and on the floor."

Democrat Senator Charles Schumer March 7, 2000 By not filling vacancies, we hamper the judiciary's ability to fulfill its own constitutional duties. . . . This delay makes a mockery of the Constitution, makes a mockery of the fact that we are here working, and makes a mockery of the lives of very sincere people who have put themselves forward to be judges and then they hang out there in limbo.

In October 1999, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D.-S.D.) found it "simply baffling that a senator would vote against even voting on a judicial nomination." Daschle baffled himself 12 times. In June 1998, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, promised to "object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported." He has broken that promise 15 times. Every filibuster in the past 45 years designed solely to defeat a judicial nominee who would otherwise be confirmed by a Senate majority is going on right now. More on the Democrats' filibusters here: http://www.HumanEventsOnline.com/article.php?id=1476

For most of the past 50 years, liberals have controlled the Senate and placed left-wing judges in the courts, including 367 judges under President Clinton. They've been attacking America's Christian Heritage and removed Christ from Christmas, prayer from schools, defended abortion, defended the forcing of the homosexuality on the majority, etc. Thus the reason for the litmus test the liberals place on nominations. Simply put, no Christian or faith-based judge need apply, because liberals prefer to live in the darkness of sin rather than come to Light, lest they be reproved. (John 3:19-20)


Views and Commentary

George Washington  said: "We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States."


"This filibuster is nothing less than a formula for tyranny by the minority. The President would have to make appointments that not just win a majority vote, but also pass the litmus test of an obstructionist minority. If it is allowed to stand, the minority will have effectively seized from the president the power to appoint judges. Never mind the Constitution. Never mind the separation of powers. Never mind the recent election � in which the American people agreed that obstruction must end."  Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN)

A review of Senate history illustrates just how unprecedented the Democrats' filibustering campaign against judicial appellate nominees has been. ... From 1949 through 2000, cloture was sought on only 13 judicial nominations, including twice for William Rehnquist, whose nominations as both associate justice and chief justice of the Supreme Court were filibustered. ... During President Bush's first term, however, cloture has been sought on 14 judicial nominations. ... Democrats have successfully filibustered 10 of the 45 circuit court nominations by President Bush that have made it to the Senate floor. That's more than 20 percent. It is a campaign that has been as unprecedented as it has been outrageous." --The Washington Times

Byrd's nuclear option by Robert Novak (12/20/2004)The unprecedented Democratic plan to filibuster judicial nominations that do not meet liberal specifications has exceeded all expectations. ...A scenario for an unspecified day in 2005: One of President Bush's judicial nominations is brought to the Senate floor. Majority Leader Bill Frist makes a point of order that only a simple majority is needed for confirmation. The point is upheld by the presiding officer, Vice President Dick Cheney. Democratic Leader Harry Reid challenges the ruling. Frist moves to table Reid's motion, ending debate. The motion is tabled, and the Senate proceeds to confirm the judicial nominee -- all in about 10 minutes. This is the so-called "nuclear option" that creates fear and loathing among Democrats and weak knees for some Republicans, including conservative opinion leaders. Ever since Frist publicly embraced the nuclear option, he has been accused of abusing the Senate's cherished tradition of extended debate. In truth, during six years as majority leader, Democrat Robert C. Byrd four times detonated the nuclear option to rewrite Senate rules.

The Federalist Brief 04-50...news of the retirement of Judge Charles Pickering is sad and frustrating, but also very instructive. Judge Pickering was placed on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bush through a recess appointment after Senate Democrats decided to bulldoze tradition by filibustering Pickering's nomination -- but their scandalous tactics have apparently succeeded. In support of those tactics, the Democrats pulled the race card, insinuating that Pickering was an "opponent of civil rights" (code for "not a Leftist"). Forget that Pickering had strong support from the local black community, including from Charles Evers, brother of slain civil-rights hero Medgar Evers. Forget, too, that Pickering testified against the KKK in the 1960s, or that he sent his children to integrated schools, or that he successfully defended a young black man accused of robbing a white girl. This sad event teaches us what Republican polls often miss: that the Left is not interested in the facts so much as what works in a sound bite and appeases their interest groups. Judge Robert Bork calls them the "whatever works party." The whole process has led Judge Pickering to conclude: "The bitter fight over judicial confirmations threatens the quality and the independence of the judiciary." Exactly -- this is what the Left wants: a judiciary dependent on Leftist thinking, not one that would allow the people to do their own. -- On the Hill, the partisan war over filibusters may still go nuclear, figuratively speaking. To put an end to Demo obstructionism of President Bush's judicial nominees before the inevitable Supreme Court nominations start popping up, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist may resort to a little-used Senatorial parliamentary procedure, euphemistically known as a constitutional option, but popularly referred to as the nuclear option. In this strategy, Republicans would seek a ruling from the Senate's presiding officer -- Vice President Dick Cheney -- that would make filibusters of judicial nominees unconstitutional. It would then take a simple majority of 51 votes to uphold the ruling, and 51 votes to confirm a nominee, just as the Constitution originally intended.

Senator Ted Kennedy revising the United States Constitution. In his effort to block the President's appointment of conservative, Christian, pro-life judges to the federal bench. Sen. Kennedy and a few of his colleagues in the Senate have abused their power by stalling the nominations at all costs - filibustering, endlessly debating, refusing to vote on the nominees. So President Bush appointed Judge William Pryor to the Eleventh Circuit during a Senate recess - entirely within the President's constitutional powers. But Sen. Kennedy orchestrated a federal lawsuit to oust Judge Pryor! This legal maneuver, coming from a member of the United States Senate, is wrong, unconstitutional, and unprecedented in our history. He created the problem ... then has the gall to complain about it! If Sen. Kennedy wins the lawsuit, he will have virtual "veto power" over the President's appointments ... dictatorship of constitutional order and over citizens like you living under the law. The commitment of the American Center for Law and Justice is to protect your constitutional freedoms, and that is what we are doing. Edwin Meese, Attorney General under the late President Ronald Reagan, has asked the Eleventh Circuit Court to set right this abuse of power - and we are standing with him. We have already filed a major brief, representing Attorney General Meese and the interests of the ACLJ and its members, arguing that Sen. Kennedy's attack should be rejected by the court. The case will almost certainly move up to the Supreme Court of the United States, and we are already preparing for this. It's a complicated process, with numerous legal approaches that must be researched and planned for. It's time-consuming and costly. At the same time, we are pushing, through a massive petition campaign, for the Senate to change its own internal rules - stop filibustering judicial nominations - and fulfill the letter and the spirit of the law under our U.S. Constitution! --ACLJ


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