Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Eliminating the filibuster on judicial nominations

Arianna Huffington writes about the Republican plan to
[eliminate] the use of filibusters against judicial nominees.

The Robert's Rules of Disorder scheme would involve — who else? — Vice President Dick Cheney, in his role as presiding Senate officer, ruling that judicial filibusters are unconstitutional and Majority Leader Bill Frist squashing the Democrats' inevitable objection to such an edict by tabling the motion. …

Over the course of his first term, 204 of Bush's judicial nominees received Senate approval; just 10 were blocked. This is the highest number of lower-court confirmations any president has had in his first term since 1980 — including President Reagan.
Arianna calls this "nuking the constitution." I'm all in favor of criticizing Bush, but let's think about this particular issue.
  • Bush has already had most of his appointees approved. In the coming session, with a clear majority in the Senate, he is likely to get nearly all of them approved anyway.
  • The filibuster was never the Democrats friend. Why are we suddenly mourning its possible curtailment? At some (perhaps distant) time in the future, the Democrats will again be nominating judges. Won't it be nice not to have to worry about a Republican filibuster?
  • The filibuster was never the democrat's friend. Why require a super-majority in the Senate? Besides, it will do little good this time around. Let Bush destroy it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The obvious reason is that the GOP won't stop with banning fillibusters for judicial nominations. The major obstacle to their power right now is that the Democrats can block things (assuming that they get >90% discipline, which hard for them). Once the GOP trashes that particular fillibuster rule, why should they not continue? If there are laws that the GOP wants passed, why not continue on?

This is a golden opportunity for the GOP. It's been a long, long time since one party had the presidency, the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, a war crisis and a 90% lickspittle media. They're going to take advantage of it to ram through everything that they can. There are trillions of dollars on the table.