May 04, 2006

Right On Cue, Democrats Start Whispering the "F" Word

A little over a year ago, seven Democrats and seven Republicans banded together to hammer out the infamous "Gang of 14" deal on President Bush's Judicial nominations. I was on vacation at the time and I remember seething over my complimentary copy of "USAToday". I even clipped out the list of names so I could try and memorize the particular Senators that were involved. Of course, the ringleader was AZ Sen. John McCain.

All in all, while solid judicial candidates like Miguel Estrada were hosed in the deal, the long-term effects probably helped two Conservative Justices make it onto the Supreme Court - John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Not content to simply wallow in their failure, many Democrat Senators are now throwing around the Filibuster idea yet again. Aside from re-energizing the Republican base, these ass-clowns are determined to show swing voters that they never learn how negatively such blatant partisanship hurts their party in the long-run.

After three years of limbo, Brett Cavanaugh's nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals is coming to a vote before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. The editors at the WSJ's OpinionJournal.com look at how this may play out over the next few weeks.

"As for a filibuster, it's possible Democrats will hold fire on Mr. Kavanaugh in favor of filibustering Fourth Circuit nominee Terrence Boyle, whom Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist also wants to vote on by Memorial Day. Mr. Boyle, a federal judge in North Carolina, has been waiting even longer than Mr. Kavanaugh. He was in Mr. Bush's first group of nominees announced on May 9, 2001.

In either case, Republicans would then have the chance to resort to the "nuclear option" of changing Senate rules to do away with the filibuster against judicial nominees. A majority of 51 votes would be enough to confirm, which is what the Constitution's advice and consent power anticipates. A filibuster fight would be exactly the sort of political battle Republicans need to energize conservative voters after their recent months of despond. Senator Schumer, make Bill Frist's day."

James Taranto (also of the WSJ) even wonders if it's time to go "nuclear" and vote for the Constitutional option that would kill the Judicial Filibuster (second item down in the link):
"Last year we argued that the Republicans got the better of the filibuster compromise, and we think events have borne us out. But for strategic reasons, the GOP may want to go nuclear now, with an election just six months away. The filibuster compromise expires at the end of this Congress, so all Democrats will be free to join partisan filibusters again. And every Senate seat the Republicans lose is one fewer defection they can afford if the nuclear option comes to a vote.

As of this moment, Republicans appear more likely to lose Senate seats in November than to gain them. The University of Virginia's Larry Sabato rates only one race, Pennsylvania, as "leaning" against the incumbent party; Democratic challenger Bob Casey is favored to beat Republican incumbent Rick Santorum. An additional four seats are "toss-ups": Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Rhode Island. Three of these are held by Republicans, one by a Democrat.

If we assume that Pennsylvania switches, that the four toss-ups split evenly between the parties, and that all Sabato's other predictions pan out, the GOP will be left with a 53-47 Senate majority. If all four toss-ups go Democratic, the Republican majority would shrink to 51-49, almost certainly not enough to go nuclear, given that Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine have said they oppose the option."

Republicans in the Senate may want to take this opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. But in any case, the issue itself is hot enough and history has shown that whenever Democrats even make the threats of a filibuster against otherwise qualified Judicial nominees they always lose.

Posted by: Gary at 11:40 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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