The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Final Countdown

Harry Reid is getting his ducks in a row. According to the congress watchers at Daily Kos, the dems have approximately 40-45 no votes on Sammy-boy Alito, depending on what goes on with the moderate Republicans (if you are a Rhode Islander, NOW is the time to call Mr. Lincoln Chaffee). Do they have that many votes for a fillibuster against Alito?

I would have to assume that they do. The reason: the only people that object to the very nature of the fillibuster against judicial nominees are Republicans that want to ram through Bush's appointments*. If you are willing to vote no on the nominee, therefore, you are also willing to fillibuster the nomine. What political traction would you lose (assuming you're a democrat) by voting for cloture that you would not lose by voting against the nominee? The answer: none. If Harry Reid has 41 non-democrat votes, I'd have to assume it's fillibuster time.

Which makes the next couple of weeks all the more interesting. perhaps fighting harry can delay the vote past the state of the union address. Perhaps he can even forcer the Republians to invoke the nuclear option. If Alito gets confirmed, this is the only way that I hope it happens. Show the senate republicans changing the rules midstream in order to get their way. Use the debate time to point out all of the problems with mr. alito. Make them pay for all this bullshit in 2006, at least. They should look like the 1994 Rethuglicans.

Because they are the 1994 Rethuglicans. Only worse. You couldn't trade in 10 Bill Frists for one Bob Dole.

*I have not heard anything actual arguments against fillibustering judicial nominees other than "you shouldn't" and "abolishing the fillibuster is consitutional." To this I say, it's also consitutional to mandate the wearing of chicken suits on Thursdays, but that doesn't make it wise. Additionally, I say, for a lifetime appointment, shouldn't some sort of supermajority be necessary?

4 Comments:

  • At 22 January, 2006 20:05, Anonymous David said…

    >If you are willing to vote no on the nominee, therefore, you are also willing to fillibuster the nominee

    By that logic, we might as well require 60 yes-votes for confirmation. That's clearly not the intention of a fillibuster. Usually fillibusters are used to allow more time for senators to make deals and compromise. What would this fillibuster accomplish?

    I think voting no is the appropriate way to oppose a nominee. A fillibuster would have no positive outcome at this point.

     
  • At 22 January, 2006 21:20, Blogger Valatan said…

    In extreme circumstances, fillibusters are also intended to protect the right of the minority to reject wholly unacceptable nominations and legislation.

    I cannot imagine anyone who is opposed to his nomination also not believing that he is an extreme and completely unacceptable nominee whose lifetime appointment to the supreme court should be blocked at any cost. If fillibustering a nominee is an option, then he should be fillibustered.

    Anyway, a fillibuster may provide an opportunity to do what you describe--perhaps this would enable further deals and compromise, perhaps Harry Reid calling up the President with a few suggestions as to what a more acceptable nominee. Clinton consulted the Republicans on his nominees. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was selected by Orrin Hatch from a list of possible nominees, for example.

     
  • At 22 January, 2006 21:51, Anonymous David said…

    >I cannot imagine anyone who is opposed to his nomination also not believing that he is an extreme and completely unacceptable nominee

    Why not? It's hard to make a case that he's extreme considering that a handful of Senate Dems voted to confirm him for his current position.

    Where are you defining the center? I don't agree with everything Alito has said but he seems well within the mainstream of the Republican leadership. If he's extreme, what do you consider Frist, Hastert, and Scalia?

     
  • At 22 January, 2006 23:34, Blogger Valatan said…

    "Why not? It's hard to make a case that he's extreme considering that a handful of Senate Dems voted to confirm him for his current position."

    they voted to confirm him for his current position contingent upon him recusing himself should he judge any cases involving Vanguard. He did not recuse himself, did not place Vanguard on his recusal list, and gave a bullshit non-reply when asked about it during the Supreme Court hearings.

    That reply makes it very hard for the Senate to trust anything he says, in my opinion. Add to the mix his dodgy answers to virtually every question asked by the democrats, the rediculous "questioning" on the part of the republicans, and several of his questionable decisions, and I think it justifies a fillibuster.

    I probably do put the center line a little toward what, today, would be considered center-left, but that has a lot to do with the rightward slant that the country has undergone in the last 20 years. Nixon, with his wage controls and negative income tax proposal for the poor, would be relegated to the land of the Snowes and Chafees today.

    Regardless of that, I would probably guess that Alito is probably right in line with Scalia in ideology (though he is much calmer than Scalia in demeanor). The problem is, next to the other 7 justices not named Thomas, Scalia is way to the right. I was actually suprised how far right he was, when I read my first writing of his, his Lawrence v. Texas dissent.

    There are several potential nominees that I wouldn't have found so abhorrent. Lindsey Graham or Michael Luttig, for example.

     

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