Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Judicial Filibusters Aren't New

As I've said several times before (here, here, and here), Republicans in the Senate who are actively seeking the nuclear option have often disengenuously maintained that no filibuster has ever been carried out against a federal judicial nominee - when in fact such a manuever was implemented against the nomination of Abe Fortas to the chief justice's chair back in 1968. Rutgers history professor David Greenberg has a well-argued essay on this topic in Tuesday's LA Times. Aside from the fact that the filibuster did occur, Greenberg also maintains that (shock of shocks) some (not all) of the opposition to Fortas (including that of Republican Strom Thurmond) was based on ideological grounds, something which Frist & Co. today seem to think is completely inexcusable.

Yes there were other reasons to oppose Abe Fortas, no he wasn't going to end up getting confirmed anyway. But still, a filibuster occurred.

6 Comments:

At 5:01 PM, Blogger The Cynical Liberal said...

They also claim that the judges deserve a straight up-or-down vote, a coutesy that upwards of 60 nominees by President Clinton never got thanks to the Republican leadership.

 
At 6:17 PM, Anonymous SimonD said...

There is a pretty good rebuttal to the claim that the filibuster is a well-established weapon agaist judicial nominees provided here.

However, in general, I agree with you, and actually just posted at some length at the matter earlier this afternoon, here; it's fairly long, so I won't waste bandwidth reproducing it here, but I think it's a pretty good supporting argument.

 
At 8:03 PM, Blogger Walter E. Wallis said...

So the minority has veto power? If they want the filibuster, then make them earn it, don't let them win just with the threat. Make them talk and talk and talk. And change the name to "Dog in the mangering."

 
At 8:16 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Josh - correct.

Simond - I disagree with PFAW's list of all those filibuster attempts (they're stretching it a good bit). But Fortas was actually filibustered. Very good analysis on your site, by the way.

Walter - As per the Constitution, the Senate has the power of advice and consent over presidential nominees. And under Senate rules for more than two hundred years, the minority have had the option of the filibuster. I don't disagree that those who support a filibuster ought to have to stand and speak in favor of it - that would be fine with me (in fact I'd prefer it). And I wouldn't necessarily even support those filibusters. I just want the filibuster to remain a viable parliamentary option for both parties, regardless of who's in the majority. It's a long-term thing in my opinion, and the GOP leadership is living too much in the now and not looking down the road. That's the problem.

 
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