Monday, May 23, 2005

Nuclear diplomacy

Never mind, nothing to see here.

A bipartisan group of 14 senators has reached a deal, stipulating that they will vote for cloture on three of the controversial appellate court nominees (Owen, Brown, Pryor) and oppose "any amendment to or interpretation of the Rules of the Senate that would force a vote on a judicial nomination by means other than unanimous consent or Rule XXII."

Yes, these nominees suck, but it was never really about them, it was about the impending opening(s) on the Supreme Court. So now we have preserved the right to filibuster the living daylights out of whomever Bush nominates to replace Rehnquist (I think we should focus our energy on whichever new justice is nominated to the Court; if Scalia or Thomas is nominated for CJOTUS, this gives them almost no additional power), and we can pray for the health of Stevens and Ginsburg.

In case we're worried that this compromise is capitulation to the Dark Side, we can note that the Sith Lords are hopping mad.

Are the Citizen Filibusters still on? MoveOn PAC hasn't updated its website.


  1. Except that I wouldn't expect the Gang of 14 (or at least the Republican half of it) to uphold the filibuster as soon as the Dems do actually try to filibuster. The lack of definition of "extreme circumstances" allowed the agreement to be made, but I suspect it will also be its downfall.

    They've preserved a "right" that can't actually be used.

  2. A few naively optimistic thoughts:
    Maybe the 7 Republicans don't actually want to see the nuclear option go through, and this agreement will give them an excuse not to support it if Frist tries to push it through (either this summer when Rehnquist retires, or sooner with William Myers). And even if they do, they have neutered the Republican argument for the nuclear option by putting support into writing for a non-rubber-stamp understanding of "advice and consent". The nuclear option's correctness or lack thereof should not be dependent on any future Democratic actions.

    Then again, the Republicans have never let logic and consistency get in their way. Blah.