Byron York notes the steps the Republicans are taking to: (1) look good publicly; (2) persuade their own holdouts on the judicial-filibuster elimination strategy.
The first and perhaps most important development is the Republican decision to give in to Democratic demands to hold hearings for some appeals-court nominees who have already had hearings and who have previously been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
National Review Online has learned that the first of those hearings will be held next month on the nomination of William Pryor, President Bush's filibustered choice for a seat on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The hearing will also consider the nomination of William Haynes, the president's pick for a place on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Both men had hearings before the committee when they were nominated in the president's first term. Both were approved by the committee. Pryor's nomination was filibustered by Democrats, while Haynes's nomination was never brought to the Senate floor.
The Democrats will take the bait and act like fools even though both men are eminently qualified for their proposed judgeships. The press will salute the Dems for standing up against Bush's "extremist" nominees. The moderate Republicans will wimp out on filibuster reform and we'll be right back where we started.
In other words, this whole "olive branch" that York describes will be a waste of time and effort and will once again demonstrate the feebleness of the Republican Senatorial leadership.
This situation is preposterous. The Republicans have allowed the Democrats to reject wholly qualified judges on spurious grounds and have enabled the Democrats to do so with a minority of the Senate stalling these appointments. In other words, the Republicans have allowed the Democrats to act unconstitutionally. For the next Democratic president, watch the Republicans roll over once again, just like they did on the Ginsburg nomination.