Today on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) taught Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) a lesson in constitutional law. At Byrd’s insistence, Frist was forced to admit that the so-called “right” to an up-or-down vote — what Frist calls the “Constitutional Option” — is “not in the Constitution.” Watch it:
On Fox News this Sunday, Frist argued the opposite:
I think it would be against the intent of the founding fathers and our Constitution to deny Sam Alito an up or down vote on the floor of the United States Senate.
Full transcript below:
BYRD: And the Constitution says that the Senate has the power of advice and consent. It doesn’t say how that consent would be measured. It doesn’t say it has to be an up or down. Nothing in the history, nothing in the Constitution says that. Yes, you can point that out in the Constitution to me, where it says a nominee shall have the right to an up or down vote. Can the Senator point that out in the Constitution to me? Can the Senator point that out in the Constitution to me?
FRIST: If the distinguished Senator from West Virginia would let me answer, I would be happy to.
FRIST: It’s not in the Constitution that a United States Senator specifically has the up or down – the right for an up or down vote.