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« The British Are Coming, After All | Main | A mathematical proof that Malkin supports internment of Arab-Americans? »

October 21, 2004


>>I don't necessarily think that what the Democrats are doing to Bush's nominees is any worse than what the Republicans did to Clinton's nominees, with the difference being that the Republicans held the Senate for most of Clinton's two terms and hence did not need to filibuster, since they could simply use their majority status to block his nominees.

How is it not worse? If the majority of Congress is Republican it is because the people put them there. Through representative government the majority of the people were saying that they didn’t want Clinton’s nominees confirmed. Now by the same process the majority is saying that they do want Bush’s nominees confirmed. I see a big difference - but maybe that's just me.

Tung Yin

A fair question. But remember, what is happening here is not that Presidential nominees are being rejected by the Senate. Instead, the nominees are being denied a vote by a minority of the Senate. Here, at least it's more than 40 Senators, whereas in the Clinton Presidency, it might have been just one Senator. In fact, a number of Clinton's appointees ended up being confirmed when they finally were allowed to be voted on.

To be consistent, therefore, if Bush wins re-election, I have the Dems have a harder time justifying continued filibuster. . . (though that doesn't help Estrada, since he withdrew)


One of my few joys in life is reading a well-reasoned appellate opinion. Every once in a while the Supreme Court puts one of these out (Crawford v. Washington and United States v. Morrison, and Kalina v. Fletcher stick out). If we had a bench full of O'Connors, I would not read a SCOTUS decision for pleasure.

The saddest thing about O'Connor is that history will not remember her. She has devoted her whole life to pleasing the elite (liberal and conservative), but in doing so, has not adopted a judicial philosophy other than "balance." Balancing is easy because the balancer is always right and because you can re-balance things to achieve the outcome you want. (Contrast that with Scalia, whose philosophy led him to write the Crawford opinion, which surely will keep a lot of pepole he'd not like out of prison).

Once O'Connor dies, history will forget her. And to me, that makes me sad for her. Not because I want history to remember me, but because she desperately wants history to remember her. In trying to please everyone, she is loved by no one.


I might remember to piss on her grave.


The prospect of O'Connor x 9 is horrifying, but thankfully highly improbable.

The filibuster used against some pending nominations is unsustainable for a Supreme Court nominee.

A significant reason for the Democrat's success is an unwillingness to fully engage by the Republicans.

Rather than forcing the filibuster's to physically hold the floor, the Democrats merely signal their intention to do so, and a cloture vote is take (this is a parliamentary motion to end debate and force a vote, which requires 60 affirmative votes).

Supporters of the nominees should force the Democrats to hold the floor and delay critical legislation. A clear majority exists for every nominee, and time is on the side of the Republicans. Bill Frist has, in this regard and in others, been incredibly gun shy and a major disappointment.

In the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, the Republicans would have to force a true filibuster, and could not merely retreat. The stakes are too high.

Second, the president still has total appointment power. The Senate's rejection of two potential Nixon appointees resulted in William Rehnquist; each time a Bush appointee was rejected, someone equally or more conservative could be chosen. With each nominees defeat, the coalition against loses steam.

The real danger in another O'Connor comes from the President himself, and not his Senate antagonists. Appointing someone like Alberto Gonzales, with essentially no judicial record, would be the prime example.

Tung Yin

Chris, good points re cloture and soft filibusters. I wasn't thinking so much about whether filibustering could continue as I was about the logical consequences of treating judicial philosophy as a valid basis for opposing nominees.

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