LA Times Supports Ending Filibusters

Proving that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, The Los Angeles Times argues for ending the filibusters on judicial nominees:

These are confusing days in Washington. Born-again conservative Christians who strongly want to see President Bush’s judicial nominees voted on are leading the charge against the Senate filibuster, and liberal Democrats are born-again believers in that reactionary, obstructionist legislative tactic. Practically every big-name liberal senator you can think of derided the filibuster a decade ago but now sees the error of his or her ways and will go to amusing lengths to try to convince you that the change of heart is explained by something deeper than the mere difference between being in the majority and being in the minority.

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.

The LAT goes even farther, arguing against the filibuster in general!

I wouldn’t go that far, but the writing is on the wall. The fact that Sen. Reid is trying to compromise on this issue only indicates that the Democrats have everything to lose here. If the Republicans have the votes, the Democrats will lose. If the Democrats shut down the Senate out of spite, it will end up hurting them. The 1995 government shutdown hurt Gingrich more than it hurt Clinton. The Democrats have already been tagged with the “No” Party label — a shutdown in the Senate is exactly the sort of thing that lost Tom Daschle his seat. The Democrats realize that they’ve backed themselves into a political corner and are hoping that Frist will bend to their demands and sacrifice some of Bush’s nominees in order to avoid a confrontation.

Frist shouldn’t back down. All of Bush’s nominees deserve a straight up-or-down vote. If the Democrats don’t want to see them in office, it’s their job to convince their Senate colleagues of that, not using pissant political games to try and avoid the issue. Given the number of squishy Republicans in the Senate, one would think that if these judges were somehow unsuitable for the federal bench they could defeat them in the Senate.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the suitability of judges or the Constitution and everything to do with partisan politics. The Democrats want to obstruct Bush’s agenda because they have nothing left to do. Despite the collegiality of the Senate, politics is warfare, and the Republicans need to show that they’re perfectly capable of pulling the trigger on the nuclear option if the Democrats don’t want to do their jobs.

9 thoughts on “LA Times Supports Ending Filibusters

  1. Ahhh, why does it not surprise me that all you devout supporters of the will of the founding fathers (at least as it pertains to limited taxation and your perceived entitlement to carry guns wherever you please) are once again using their headstones as your personal urinals? Clearly the only solution to 5% of Bush-proposed judges not being confirmed is to change the rules of Senate procedure as you go.

    As I said yesterday, polls on this issue show that Americans oppose this latest Republican power grab by a near 2-1 margin and may finally be starting to see the consequences of living in a one-party state, particularly a one-party state dominated by the ideological extremists that represent the current Republican party. While the prospect of “shutting down the government” will fall on the backs of Democrats, the facts on this issue clearly portray the Republican majority as the schoolyard bully trying to steal the little guy’s lunch money…..meaning the solid majority of Americans who now oppose the job performance of Bush and Congressional Republicans are unlikely to be cheering them on when they abuse their power to this degree.

    The Democrats would be wise to engage a PR campaign explaining the tremendous consequences of rubber stamping radical judges. Certainly the future of legalized abortion will be in tremendous peril, but the ability of the courts to uphold Bush’s wildly unpopular domestic agenda will be completely unchecked if the worst of the worst judicial appointments are rubber-stamped. When the Republicans follow through with plans of eliminating the workday lunch hour and starving workers lawsuits’ are squashed by Bush-appointed judges, many of these independents and conservative Democrats who voted for Bush because of the number of Arabs he’s killing are not likely to remain in 51% Bush fold.

    Clearly, the Republicans think they’re going to be running government forever by pressing forward with ending the 229-year-old filibuster just because they can. I’m less certain than I was three months ago that their assessment of multi-decade control of government will hold.

  2. OK hotshot, where in the Constitution does it say that judicial nominees have to be approved by a supermajority?

    (Hint, it ain’t there.)

    70% of the American electorate support a straight up-or-down confirmation vote on Bush’s judicial nominees. The nuclear option doesn’t hurt the Republicans one bit, and the Democrats are going to once agian have to explain to their constituencies why the only thing that Senate Democrats can do is sit around and say “no” to everything.

    Just ask former Senator Daschle how well that works out…

  3. OK, genius, look over my post and show me one example where the word “Constitution” was used? There may not be a Constitutional right to a filibuster, but it’s pretty obvious that minority party rights were valued by the founding fathers or the filibuster wouldn’t have been adapted as a part of our government. Do you honestly believe that Republicans will control the Senate for the rest of the republic’s future? For you to endorse this instant gratification corruption of American government, you must believe that your party will never again be in a position where your action will be used against you. I guess when you consider that conservatives are willing to defer gargantuan tax increases to their children to finance present-day tax cuts on credit, it shouldn’t surprise me that you approach Senate rules with the same short-sighted gluttony.

  4. The interests of the Republic are best served by ensuring that qualified judges are given an up-or-down vote in the Senate, not held up by pissant partisan politics.

  5. It’s amazing how much the “interests of the Republic” have changed since 2000, after years of GOP Congresses killing far more than 5% of Clinton’s judicial appointments in committee before they even reached the Senate floor. Yet I’m guessing there are no archived Jay Reding comments fighting for the right of those Clinton-era judges to be given an up-or-down vote by Senators.

  6. Name one Clinton-era judicial candidate who was fillibustered in order to avoid a floor vote.

    (Hint, no judicial nominee has been filibustered before except Abe Fortas in 1968, and that was a bipartisan move.)

  7. Clinton’s judicial nominees were quasi-filibustered by not being allowed out of the committees in the Republican Congresses of the 1990’s. You can split hairs all you want, but the bottom line is that a higher percentage of Clinton-era judicial nominees were never “put to an up-or-down Senate floor vote” than are Bush nominees. And again, do you honestly believe this won’t come back to bite you guys in the ass or do you seriously think the Republicans will be the majority party for the rest of eternity?

  8. One doesn’t have to agree with voting nominees down in commmittee to realize it is a perfectly normal procedure. If the nominee doesn’t have the votes to get through committee, he/she almost assuredly doesn’t have the votes to be confirmed on the floor.

    do you honestly believe this won’t come back to bite you guys in the ass

    You mean someday when the Democrats are back in control of the Senate they’ll be able to get an up-or-down vote on judges that pass through committee and have a majority of support from the full Senate body? Perish the thought!

  9. LOL! I find it really amusing how the Republicans ramble on and on about how the Democrats dare oppose 10 out of over 200+ successful Bush judicial appointments, but apparently suffer amnesia when it comes to recalling that the GOP not only shot down 60 of president Clinton’s judicial picks, but also employed the fillibuster (GOP Senators Rick ‘man-on-dog’ Santorum and Mike DeWine) to shoot down his pick for surgeon general!

    I blame the Democrats for not doing a better job of bringing this bald-a$$ed hypocrisy into the public’s eye. Unfortunately, the only hope for democracy in this country is a viable third party made up of rationale people from both parties, minus the corporate and special interests and lunatic religious fringe.

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