Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Senatorial Game of Chicken

It appears that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are headed for a game of chicken over the upcoming judicial nominations, and the "battle of the filibuster" that will ensue. Fortunately, it appears that at least a few Republican Senators today have a memory longer than the last election and foresight further than the next one, and recognize that it would do a disservice to the institution of the Senate to "nuke" the filibuster. Contrary to current Republican rhetoric, the filibuster is neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional. The Senate is intentionally designed in the Constitution to be the chamber where minority rights are preserved, and some constitutional scholars have argued that a supermajority requirement for important judicial nominations would be consistent with the Constitution.

President Bush is the true "obstructionist" here by renominating candidates he knows full well are not broadly acceptable. If the President honestly means any of his "uniting" bipartisan rhetoric, he would nominate judges that can be confirmed by broad consensus. Last term, he succeeded in doing so over 200 times. Why not find just a few more judges like those first 200, rather than squander his political capital and the nation's trust in picking a fight over the handful of judges who failed to garner broad acceptance?

Attention any Senators who care about doing what's right for America: don't nuke the filibuster, nuke the aisle.

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