Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling...
At the risk of seeming dull or unfashionable for not getting our own intellectual makeover, we still think judicial candidates nominated by a president deserve an up-or-down vote in the Senate. We hardly see eye to eye with the far right on social issues, and we oppose some of these judicial nominees, but we urge Republican leaders to press ahead with their threat to nuke the filibuster. The so-called nuclear option entails a finding by a straight majority that filibusters are inappropriate in judicial confirmation battles.
So the next time you hear somebody say that only conservative Christian right-wing zealots want to end the filibuster over judges you can tell them that isn't exactly the case any more. But of course one editorial in the L.A. Times won't convince many of my liberal friends that the filibuster on judges should be ended, so let's take a look at what some prominent Democrats had to say about judicial filibusters:
Senator Leahy, D-VT (Congressional Record, 6/18/98)
"I would object and fight any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported..."
Senator Kennedy, D-MA (Congressional Record, 2/3/98)
"We owe it to Americans across the country to give these nominees a vote."
Senator Shumer, D-NY (Congressional Record, 3/7/00)
"The basic issue of holding up judgeships is the issue before us, not the qualifications of judges, which we can always debate. The problem is it takes so long for us to debate those qualifications. It is an example of Government not fulfilling its constitutional mandate because the President nominates, and we are charged with voting on the nominees."
All three of these Senators now support the filibuster of judicial nominees. Can you say hypocrite? Oh, by the way, the Democrats don't want you to know this, but there already are rules preventing the filibuster in certain situations:
1. You cannot filibuster a federal budget resolution;
2. You cannot filibuster a resolution authorizing the use of force;
3. You cannot filibuster international trade agreements; and
4. You cannot filibuster legislation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.
Amazing that the SAEN sort of "forgets" to report this in their stories or editorials on the current fight over judicial nominations.
As if the Dems would not themselves nuke the filibuster if it were wielded against them! The hypocritical quotes you show prove that, when in power, the Dem leadership would nuke the filibuster in a minute whenever it served their ends to do so.
There are other liberals/progressives who feel similarly, though of course many disagree.
Do you agree with this position?
I don't agree with them. The legislative filibuster is a completely different thing, and has a valid use in the give and take of legislative bill crafting. Filibustering judicial nominations, however, is simply a minority stamping their feet and refusing to allow the majority to rule in a single, yes/no confirmation of a nominee, which is supposed to occur on a simple majority basis.