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The Senate should go nuclear
townhall.com ^ | 05/09/05 | Star Parker

Posted on 05/09/2005 7:13:14 AM PDT by smoothsailing

The Senate should go nuclear

Star Parker

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


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 109th; 2006; 2006elections; 2006senaterace; constitutionaloption; democratnukereaction; doitalready; filibuster; frist; nuclearoption; nukeorloseyourjob; starparker

1 posted on 05/09/2005 7:13:14 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: smoothsailing
>The Senate should go nuclear


That would be tough on
our fine DC Freepers, but
would solve some problems . . .

3 posted on 05/09/2005 7:18:39 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss; All

Yea yea yea -- by the time they do so, we'll all be be 99 years old...


4 posted on 05/09/2005 7:20:45 AM PDT by 1stFreedom (1)
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To: Tarheel1

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...


5 posted on 05/09/2005 7:21:58 AM PDT by 1stFreedom (1)
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To: smoothsailing

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.


6 posted on 05/09/2005 7:22:05 AM PDT by Preachin' (Keep the Kerry/Edwards tags on your cars so we can identify the root of your disease.)
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To: Preachin'

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!


7 posted on 05/09/2005 7:29:03 AM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: Tarheel1
No filibustering judges is "a right call". No one in their right mind would believe that the Dems want the filibuster option in place if and when they assume the White House and/or the Senate.

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!!

8 posted on 05/09/2005 7:30:51 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: Preachin'

Agree completely.
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.


9 posted on 05/09/2005 7:32:34 AM PDT by tumblindice (Democrats, like rugs, should be beaten regularly.)
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To: Tarheel1
"I wonder if this will come back and bite us in the ass twenty years from now?"

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!!!

10 posted on 05/09/2005 7:33:48 AM PDT by An American Patriot ("GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME"-- the opportunity to get the Hell out of here! Bye Bye VT- Hello, VA)
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To: smoothsailing

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!


11 posted on 05/09/2005 7:34:13 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: smoothsailing

Nuclur!


12 posted on 05/09/2005 7:37:27 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Remember, this is only a temporary exile!)
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To: Tarheel1

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.


13 posted on 05/09/2005 7:37:51 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: EagleUSA
I think we will have the rules change in place by the end of this month.

It is my opinion that Frist knows an opening is about to occur in the Supreme Court, and he is working to do this before that happens.
14 posted on 05/09/2005 7:39:14 AM PDT by Preachin' (Keep the Kerry/Edwards tags on your cars so we can identify the root of your disease.)
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To: Preachin'

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.


15 posted on 05/09/2005 7:39:51 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: smoothsailing
....filibuster is an important procedure to protect minority interests

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?..................

16 posted on 05/09/2005 7:39:56 AM PDT by Red Badger (Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make liberal.....................)
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To: smoothsailing

I'm sick of this. Two years floating the trial baloon is enough. The GOP should either pull the trigger or admit defeat.


17 posted on 05/09/2005 7:40:37 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: Rummyfan

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!.


18 posted on 05/09/2005 7:47:22 AM PDT by Peelod (Decentia est fragilis. Curatoribus validis indiget.)
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To: Tarheel1

"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.



19 posted on 05/09/2005 7:54:34 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Liberal Talking Point - Bush = Hitler ... Republican Talking Point - Let the Liberals Talk)
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To: smoothsailing
However, we do have to have the federal bench staffed.

Maybe not.

Maybe instead of trying to staff it or pack it we should just starve it to death.

Just kiddin'...of course ;-)

20 posted on 05/09/2005 7:56:23 AM PDT by evad (No action to secure borders, No action on judges... NO MONEY!)
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To: Preachin'

I kinda like calling it the "Byrd Precedent". My lefty aquaintances get real upset when I use that term.


21 posted on 05/09/2005 7:57:56 AM PDT by smoothsailing (Qui Nhon Turtle Co.)
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To: theFIRMbss

We would have to move the D.C. Chapter to a safe and secret "undisclosed location".


22 posted on 05/09/2005 8:01:49 AM PDT by smoothsailing (Qui Nhon Turtle Co.)
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To: smoothsailing
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.

Excellent!

23 posted on 05/09/2005 8:03:52 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Tarheel1
I wonder if this will come back and bite us in the ass twenty years from now?

The only thing that will bite us in the ass is when the Democrats, the party that invented "Borking" and is the first party to EVER routinely filibuster judicial nominees, themselves go nuclear twenty years from now and laugh right in our faces because we failed to do so. Now THAT is what I call coming back to "bite us in the ass".

24 posted on 05/09/2005 8:09:13 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Preachin'

It is my opinion that Frist knows an opening is about to occur in the Supreme Court, and he is working to do this before that happens.
------
I certainly hope you are right! It needs to be fixed.


25 posted on 05/09/2005 8:14:34 AM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: EagleUSA
Calling it the 'Consitutional option' doesn't accomplish much either in my opinion. It's a term that is so bastardized that it means whatever to whomever. The only people who take that term seriously or value it probably don't need much convincing on this issue anyway.

More useful to make a general point of the Dems preference for undemocratic means, and their insistence on pushing their own marginal viewpoints.

The Dems have perversely and desperately embraced the anti-democratic nature of their scheme by trying to portray themselves as some kind of oppressed minority in the Senate. Take 'em at their own words - the Senate is no place for minorities to take the day, and that is an easy argument to make. But once again, (like the war in Iraq) the Repubs fail to rely on a simple principled message, but get bogged down in arcane rules and technical details which take them away from the sustance of the issue, and get them sidetracked over irrelevancies.

The lame Republicans probably believe the Dem spin more than their own constituents do. All it would take is a confident consistent attitude of 'we won, you lost, the American people rejected you and your approach, now get out of their way', but we are talking about Republican Senators here, so I will dispense with the fantasy.

26 posted on 05/09/2005 8:17:03 AM PDT by Monti Cello (I'm just a poor freedom fighter, singin' in a Contra band.)
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To: smoothsailing
>move the D.C. Chapter to a safe and secret "undisclosed location"


Skull Island? We could
run that place right, and train Kong
just to attack 'Rats . . .

27 posted on 05/09/2005 12:43:44 PM PDT by theFIRMbss
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