How to engage the Fairness Option
Mort Kondracke made a very good point today in “Before firing ‘nukes’ Senate should debate Senate picks.” The putative reason for a filibuster is to extend debate, so let’s force the Democrats to make their case against President Bush’s judicial nominees. Here’s a dream scenario (disclaimer: I am not an expert on Senate rules so this may be incorrect):
1 - A cloture vote is called for a judicial nominee.
2 - The Democrats filibuster and prevent the close of debate.
3 - The Senate leadership extends debate on the nominee for, say, two hours.
4 - Another cloture vote. Another filibuster.
5 - The Senate chair extends debate for four hours.
6 - Another cloture vote. Another filibuster.
7 - The Senate chair extends debate on the nominee for eight hours.
8 - Filibuster.
9 - After, say, 24 hours of continuous debate, the rules change is made to end the filibuster of judicial nominees.
10 - Judicial nominees get an up-or-down vote.
In sum, it’s important for the Senate leadership to demonstrate that the Democrats are not really interested in debate and that they’re intent on subverting the Constitution to block the President’s judicial nominees. So let's debate, then let's vote.