Sunday, April 24, 2005

If it’s a bluff, it’s a magnificent one

I’ve been doubtful for some time whether the Republicans would find the fortitude to vote for the “nuclear option” and change the rule to override the Democrats’ unconstitutional filibusters of judicial nominees. Senate majority leader Bill Frist has been threatening to take action for weeks now. Yesterday, the GOP’s vote counter in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, announced he has the votes to institute the rule change. Well, they must have the 50 votes because the clincher was the sudden wobbling of Senate Democrats:

Also yesterday, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, suggested a possible compromise on the nominations of seven judges that have been delayed. Biden suggested on the ABC program ''This Week" that ''the two most extreme [nominations] not go through," which would enable a fast vote on the other five.

Manley, Reid's spokesman, said Democrats would be open to discussing such a compromise, but it was not clear whether Republicans would be interested.
Quite right. This counter-proposal is designed to establish the axiom that the Senate filibusters are legitimate and that a contravention to the Constitution – in both theory and long-standing practice – is acceptable. The Senate leadership should reject it out of hand.

Extra - Power Line hits the same note: “The last thing the Republicans should do at this point is accept Biden's deal. The explicit premise of the "compromise" is that President Bush's nominees are "extreme," and the two that the Dems will block are the "most extreme." This is not only false, it is insulting to every judge whom President Bush has nominated to the bench, and to the President himself. Unable to win today, the Democrats are playing for the future--for the President's first Supreme Court nomination, for next year's elections, and for history.”

Bonus – From Prof. B by way of Decision 08, here’s a graph from the Economist on the judicial confirmation rates of previous administrations. (More here.)

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