Skip to comments.The Senate should go nuclear
Posted on 05/09/2005 7:13:14 AM PDT by smoothsailing
The Senate should go nuclear
May 9, 2005
The use of the Senate filibuster to block floor votes on judicial nominees, as Democrats have been doing, is a distortion of good government in the United States. I fully endorse Senate Republican leader Bill Frist's pushing the "nuclear" button to change Senate rules so this can no longer be done.
Even if you buy the argument that the filibuster is an important procedure to protect minority interests in the Senate, this still should not apply to judicial nominations.
Why? >p>Because the nominating process is fundamentally different from the legislative process.
The checks and balances and institutional bias toward deliberation in government is critical in our free country. Although, as result, we rarely get legislation that makes anyone completely happy, this is the price of freedom and a participatory democracy. We have a process of give-and-take and compromise.
But nominees up for confirmation cannot be put into the same kind of sausage-making machine that produces legislation. A controversial bill can be debated, amended, tweaked and, yes, filibustered. There always remains the opportunity for another nip and tuck. If the president doesn't like what ultimately gets sent to him, he can veto it and then Congress still gets another vote on the vetoed bill.
Unlike legislation, we can't take human beings apart and then put them back together to create a new product that will pass the consensus test. Either you take them as they are or reject them. Nominations, then, that pass out of committee should be submitted for a simple up-or-down floor vote.
Furthermore, legislative initiatives are capricious. We don't have to have new bills. However, we do have to have the federal bench staffed. The president has an obligation to nominate judges and the Senate has an obligation to vote on the nominees.
It seems pretty clear to me that the point of the process of advice and consent in the Senate, which defines its review of the president's nominees, is to ensure that we have qualified candidates. It should not be about having senators insert personal political opinions regarding a nominee's views on particular subject matter.
By definition, because it is the responsibility of the president to nominate judges, and because the people of the nation democratically elect the president, it is only reasonable to expect the judges that get nominated to reflect the worldview of our president.
The American people, last November, elected a Republican president and a Republican Senate. If we don't believe that the American people know what they are doing when they go to the polls, our way of life is in bad shape. We have to assume that a Republican-dominated federal government reflects a conservatively oriented electorate.
It is only logical to expect that judicial nominees will reflect this orientation and we can only conclude that this is the result of a healthy democracy. Procedural games that undermine this process reflect a sick democracy.
The Janice Rogers Brown nomination is a good case in point.
There is no conceivable argument that can be made that she is not an eminently qualified candidate for a seat on a federal court. She is an associate justice on the California Supreme Court and was re-elected to this position by a compelling 76 percent of the vote. Her background before this position is stellar, including stints as a law-school professor, legal-affairs secretary to then-California Gov. Pete Wilson, an associate justice on a California district court of appeals, and a practicing attorney.
On a personal note, Brown is a black woman who is a role model for both blacks as well as whites. Her life is proof that achievement in America is the result of character and hard work. She grew up in rural Alabama, the daughter of sharecroppers. As a single mother, she worked her way through Cal State and UCLA law school.
Don't the Democrats allege to be the party looking out for the interests of the common folks? How in the world does this claim wash with Democratic opposition to Brown's nomination to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia?
The answer is that Democrats are not for folks of humble origins making it in America if those folks happen to turn out to be conservatives, as Brown is.
Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education and author of the newly released book 'Uncle Sam's Plantation.'
©2005 Star Parker
That would be tough on
our fine DC Freepers, but
would solve some problems . . .
Yea yea yea -- by the time they do so, we'll all be be 99 years old...
NO. Why? Because its not Constitutional to filibuster nominees. So if 20 years from now, this is used against our interests, that's the way it works. At least the opposition will be following the Constitution...
I hate term "go nuclear". That term is used by the left to make us look like we are attempting to circumvent the law.
We ought to just call it the "constitutional option". That's what it is.
We ought to just call it the "constitutional option". That's what it is.
Most certainly. Given that, get with it GOP, and make it happen -- b****slap the obstructionist Dems! HARD!
I think the Dems started out playing this as a game. They are seeing that abortion is not the "sure vote" it was before people began being honest about the idea of killing babies in the womb. The Pledge issue has been played out and people are again beginning to wear the badges of their religion.....just the opposite of what the Dems intended. Just imagine losing an election over moral issues...just imagine!!
It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn the term was coined by a Democrat. As a metaphor "going nuclear" has about as many negative connotations as you can imagine.
Without repeating all the arguments for demanding a 'straight-up vote"--a democratic process, by the way--or all the quotes from these same Democrats from the mid-`90s, when they wanted a vote, before the "nuclear option", suffice to say that those who control the language control the debate.
You must be a youngun or your powers of "recall" are fading.
Just what to hell do you think we have been experiencing for the past 25 years with the activist liberal judiciary which have turned our Constitution on its head?
Geez, give me a break about what happens when (or if) we become the minority party again.
UNLESS we get some more conservative judges, NOW, it WON'T matter what happens in 25 years!!!
Janice Rogers Brown was re-elected to the California State Supreme Court with 76% of the vote. California, one of the blue-est states! Yet according to Chuckie and Dickie she is 'out of the mainstream'! Booshwa!
Doesn't matter. We are talking about changing a Senate rule, not amending the Constitution. There is no Constitutional requirement that a judical nominee needs a super-majority. If the Senate Democrats are allowed to get away with this, we can forget about getting any kind of strict-constructionist on the judiciary. Might as well let Schumer and company submit to the President a pick-list consisting of whom they would approve.
It strokes my memory that the term "go nuclear" regarding this topic, originally referred to the tantrum the dems were promising if the Republicans were to go through with the veto restoration. It was the dems and their sycophants in the press who inverted the meaning.
They (the dems) didn't care about minority interests when the Republicans were in the minority, so why should the Republicans care about them now?..................
I'm sick of this. Two years floating the trial baloon is enough. The GOP should either pull the trigger or admit defeat.
My senators are being deprived of their right to vote on these nominees. Let them vote to represent me.
My senators are Chuckie and Hillary!.
"I wonder if this will come back and bite us in the ass twenty years from now?"
Some Democrats asked the same question 20 years ago.
Maybe instead of trying to staff it or pack it we should just starve it to death.
Just kiddin'...of course ;-)
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