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Tuesday, March 15, 2024
The Coming Nuclear Constitutional Option?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:48 pm

Via the Boston Globe: GOP sees momentum in ending judicial filibusters

Republicans believe they have enough votes to end the filibustering of judicial nominees, a landmark change in Senate rules that would clear the way for President Bush to get conservative judges confirmed but could draw a forceful reaction from minority Democrats, who have threatened to use procedural moves to shut down the chamber in retaliation.

Republican activists working on the issue say they have one last obstacle to making the change — their second-ranking Senate leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is said to be reluctant to take such a radical step. As majority whip, McConnell wields considerable power over the Republican caucus and members would be hesitant to proceed without his approval.

Supporters of the change say McConnell has argued in closed-door leadership meetings that there was not sufficient public clamor for the change. Conservative leaders plan to pressure him while activists work to raise grass-roots anger at Democratic filibusters, procedural maneuvers that have blocked votes on 10 of Bush’s most conservative nominees to federal appeals courts.

Intriguing. I am increasingly of the opinion that not only is this necessary, that the Democrats are foolish for pushing the Republicans to this point.

I remain amazed that the Democrats don’t see the political opportunity here: to allow some of the high profile nominees to have a floor vote, and then use that “reasonableness” to bludgeon the GOP on the other nominees, and further, be in a position to go into the almost certain Supreme Court nomination process as the “reasonable party.” They are, instead, going the other direction, in my opinion.

To wit (via Bloomberg): Democrat Reid Threatens to Block Senate Action Over Rule Change

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid threatened to bring the Senate to a halt if Republicans try to change the chamber’s rules to prevent the minority party from blocking President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees.

In a letter to Majority Leader Bill Frist, Reid wrote that Democrats, who have 44 seats in the 100-member Senate, would refuse to cooperate on any legislation not related to the U.S. military presence in Iraq, national security measures and other “critical government services.'’

“Beyond that very limited scope, however, we will be reluctant to enter into any consent agreement that facilitates Senate activities, even on routine matters,'’ Reid wrote.

First: I would point out that the last politician to shut down the government was Newt Gingrich, and it didn’t work out all that well for him.

Second: I would note that the last Senate Minority Leader to be associated with obstructing judicial nominations was Tom Daschle, and it didn’t work out all that well for him.

Third: I would also underscore that most people won’t notice if the Senate only does the bare minimum. If McConnell thinks there is no clamour for stopping the filibuster, there is likewise no outcry for the Senate to pass a bunch of laws. Indeed, most people are unaware as to what the Senate does on a daily basis anyway. (Indeed, I personally would kind of like it if they onyl did the bare minimum…)

I really think that the Democrats are radically miscalculating here. As I have noted numerous times: they lost Senate seats in 2024 and 2024 and yet have not changed their approach. This makes no sense.

Filed under: US Politics, Courts/the Judiciary | |Send TrackBack |

Don Singleton linked with Make them do it linked with Reid's filibuster temper-tantrum


  • el
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    1. I can see their anti-Soc Sec change message spreading and understand their strategy — but this one seems to be pegged a mystery, as you say.

      My bet, however, is that they are pinning their hopes on the idea that the Republicans will back down. To date, that has been a good, solid bet on the judge issue. I think that they think they can still stare the Repubs down.

      Comment by Steven L. — Tuesday, March 15, 2024 @ 8:39 pm

    2. Reid’s filibuster temper-tantrum
      Word is “Dusty” Harry Reid is holding a press conference about now on the Capitol steps to rant/rave about the possibility that the Republicans might resort to…the Constitution (gasp!)…in their effort to confirm Bush’s judicial nominees…threat…

      Trackback by — Tuesday, March 15, 2024 @ 10:20 pm

    3. Just an observation: I noticed a web banner ad for the New York Times on The Drudge Report.

      We certainly are living in new times now, aren’t we?

      Comment by John Lemon — Wednesday, March 16, 2024 @ 1:01 am

    4. Make them do it
      I am happy to see that the filibustering of judicial nominees may finally be coming to an end, and I hope that the Senate may again get the chance to vote up or down on each nominee.

      Trackback by Don Singleton — Wednesday, March 16, 2024 @ 9:50 am

    5. You make some valid points, but I think the Republicans are showing how much they want it their way period. Bush had a chance to reach out, but instead simply sent back the rejected group.

      It could backfire for Dems, it just depends on who gets the better message (AKA sound bite) out there.

      Comment by The Misanthrope — Wednesday, March 16, 2024 @ 6:20 pm

    6. The reason I think that the Democrats are more vulnerable is that they realy haven’t made the case as to why these nominees are unfit. Mostly they are simply tagged as “out of the mainstream” but I have yet to hear a definition for that term.

      Further, historically the president has gotten the judges he wants–and the Democrats have not made the case as to why this should not longer be the case–especially given that the Reps have won Senate seats the last two cycles. At some point you have to admit that you are in the minority and wait until it is your turn again.

      While it is acceptable to have a few nominees blocked, this is an unprecedented move.

      Comment by Steven Taylor — Wednesday, March 16, 2024 @ 8:25 pm

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