Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Go Nuclear for the love of the Constitution

I've discussed this before, at least twice, and it is about two years late, but the Senate may finally implement the long overdue rules change that would prevent the 60-vote filibustering of judicial nominations. See former Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch's article linked above.

FYI, here is my rejoinder to the Dems' case defending their filibustering on the basis of "Republicans squashed Clinton's nominees too".
What about what Republicans did to Democratic judicial nominations?

Let's look at the record that Dems continually point to:

1. Filibustering the nomination of Abe Fortas for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court -- back in 1968, the filibuster could be broken by a regular majority of 51 votes, not 60; furthermore, Fortas was filibustered by Democrats, not Republicans, and the Democrats had more than 60 Senators in their majority so they had actual control of the Senate if they so chose.

2. Voting down Ronnie White -- the Missouri Supreme Court Justice was disapproved of by John Ashcroft, and with good reason -- go find some of White's more controversial opinions and read them (The Monk already has); they veer from incoherent to illogical to just plain senseless. But at least White got an up-or-down vote.

3. Not voting on Clinton appointees in late 2000. This is rubbish because the Democrats in the Senate prevented MORE George H.W. Bush appointees from getting floor votes in 1992, AND more Reagan appointees from getting floor votes in 1988 (in the hopes of a Dukakis win) than the Republicans prevented Clinton nominees from getting voted on in 2000.

So it has been time to go nuclear for more than two years. Never before have appellate and district court nominees been filibustered by the Senate. The Republicans must be tough for once and actually get something done. Otherwise, there's no value in having them in charge.

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