Monday, May 23, 2005

The aftermath

Very mixed reviews over at Polipundit
They’re apoplectic over at Blogs for Bush.
The Bulldog Pundit is losing it over at Ankle-bite Pundits
Professor B. thinks that “if threatening to abolish the filibuster blew out the logjam, well done.”
David Wissing’s thoughts are close to mine: “Details are still coming out, but it appears Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor will get floor votes. Saad and Myers will not, but it wasn’t clear if they would get 50 votes anyway.” True, but if Myers and Saad have problems (e.g. Myers has little bench experience) the Democrats should have made that case and allowed a straight vote.

I guess the question of “who won” hinges on whether or not you think this compromise somehow codifies the previously unknown concept that a judicial nominee needs 60 votes to be confirmed instead of the previous standard of a simple majority. I don’t think it does and, in fact, makes it much more difficult for Democrats to filibuster in the future since they run the risk of alienating the moderate GOP deal-makers, who could throw up their hands and vote for the nuclear option if the obstruction continues unabated. The terms of the agreement couldn’t reasonably bar inoffensive conservative judges from the bench (nor would it stop the elevation of Scalia or Thomas) without risking charges of bad faith.

Essentially, the Senate is at the same position as before except three nominees will get an up-or-down vote. It’s a minor, if temporary, win for the Republicans.


Dusty said...

Here's my quick reaction. The big problem I see is basing a compromise agreement the hard fact promise of not nuking the filibuster for a squishy fact of what is the definition of extreme. In that sense, the Dem's come out favorably, particularly since anyone of them or their cattle-herding fringe groups scream "Extremist!" at the drop of a tinfoil hat.

So, much depends on whether the Republicans bother to frame the agreement to offset this imbalance. If Owens, Brown and Pryor are getting a vote and, better, if they all get a thumbs up, then Repubs need to note the confirmation of mainstream nominees -- nominees that did not violate this agreement. This forces the Dem's to let the standard be moved for measuring what the definition of "extreme" is in the future. (Really, were there any on the list more 'extreme' to the Dems than Brown or Pryor?)

Anyway, this might allow for easier sailing for those remaining and, again for any of the current crop which might be on list for potential SC associate justice slots.

Brian said...

I only wish they add Miguel Estrada to this deal.

One other thing: Is there any doubt that if the tables were turned, the Dems would have nuked the filibuster months ago and the press would have been on their side to no end?

I'll never understand why some Republicans feel the need to pander to people who will never support them. Especially John McCain. All of the good ink he gets from the New York Times would disappear in a moment were he to get the nomination in 2008.

Dusty said...

Brian, my memory is hazy, but was Miguel Estrada considered by the Dems to be as extreme as either Brown or Pryor?

In not, I hope Bush would have plans for bringing him back.