From remarks by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) at a news conference at the Capitol yesterday:

In garnering millions of votes from blacks and whites in her first election, and in her second in 1998, where she narrowly missed reelection, former senator [Carol] Moseley-Braun sent American democracy to a new level.

Americans are literally staring at the Senate . . . confirmation process in the hope that she will get a fair hearing and be confirmed [as ambassador to New Zealand] this week.

We are here because of the taint of prejudgment and bias that surrounds the nomination and the remarks of [Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) of the Foreign Relations Committee] that bear the stamp of a personal grudge. . . .

It is almost impossible for a former senator not to be confirmed by the Senate of the United States. This is not only because the Senate is an old boys' club; former senator Moseley-Braun was certainly not one of the boys. However . . . former senators easily get confirmed because their Senate peers know them personally and, therefore, know their character and know their ability.

Sen. Moseley-Braun was . . . admired and respected by her colleagues, Democrat and Republican. . . . Sen. Trent Lott has indicated that former senator Moseley-Braun should be confirmed. We call upon the Senate to confirm her this week with the same ease and grace it has confirmed former senators who have preceded her. We demand no less for the first African American woman who served in the United States Senate.