Tuesday, May 24, 2005 6:30 pm Daniel J. Summers
Yesterday evening, Senate Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on judicial nominations, and the use of the filibuster, to allow most of President Bush's nominees to receive floor votes. Lots of folks are heralding this as a good thing - but, to me, this is a failure. It is true that getting 5 judges voted on (and, most likely, in) is better than none - but this is the first President in history to have his nominations clear the Judiciary Committee (where unqualified judges are generally weeded out), but be filibustered on the floor of the full Senate. This list, culled from the Washington Times by radio host Neal Boortz, shows the percentage of nominations by post-WWII Presidents that have been approved. In prior administrations, the lowest was 77% (JFK), and there were three who were in the 80% range. President George W. Bush's judicial confirmation rate is currently 53.1%.
There are also huge problems wording of the “Memorandum of Understanding” part II. In it, these 14 folks state categorically that this agreement means nothing (as the “extraordinary circumstances” are not defined (how ordinary is a Supreme Court nomination? not very?)) and that, in effect, the Republican leadership loses (as they agree to not support a rule change, commonly called the “nuclear option”). This is unbelievable to me - why would 7 Republican Senators go along with such a spineless decision? Former Senate Majority / Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) was defeated in the most recent election, as the people of South Dakota let the nation know how they felt about his obstructionist tactics - do these folks have that short of a memory? Republicans won a clear majority in both houses of Congress, and President Bush was reelected with a clear majority of both the electoral college (which matters) and the American people (which doesn't).
My opinion - nuke 'em. Invoke the nuclear/Constitutional option, force these people to make a vote for obstructionism. The American people want results, and are growing weary of this unmitigated power grab by the minority party.
And, a few side notes…
- Notice in the Memo, that it's "Majority Leader Frist and “Democrat Leader Reid” - I'm pretty sure that Senator Reid's title is not “Democrat Leader,” but “Minority Leader.” Even in a “bi-partisan” compromise, the Democrat spin machine is on high.
- The stakes are indeed high in this battle. David Limbaugh (yes, he's Rush's brother) is an attorney as well as a columnist - check out his most recent column where he shows how judicial activism is real, and something that should be fought mightily.