Monday, May 23, 2005

Senate Compromise on Judicial Filibusters Reached

The buzz in the blogospere is frantic over the compromise reached by the 14 Senators concerning the 5 Judicial nominees offered up by George Bush. Here is my take, the Republicans won this round. Here's why:

1) We have an up or down vote guaranteed on the 3 most contentious nominees Brown, Owen and Pryor.

2) We have given up nothing. The Dims promised not to filibuster unless under extraordinary circumstances. The other two nominess can be brought to the floor and if filibustered the Dims can be made out to be liars because the 3 most arguably extreme judges have already been allowed through.

3) The nuclear option can still be be used at any time.

4) The Dims got absolutely nothing except it allowed them a way out of this morass without totally losing face.

5) It will be virtually impossible for the Dims to try and filibuster one of these nominees if they are ever in line for the Supreme Court because they have already capitulated on them.

I was never sure that Frist had the votes to go nuclear, if he did he will have them a few weeks down the road should they be needed, if he didn't he averted a potentially devastating embarrassment. The crapweasels blinked and we are better off now then we were a week ago.

Update: Frist on the Senate Floor...

I am not a party of the MOU signed last night by 14 of our colleagues, I have had the opportunity to further review in more detail and the MOU makes modest progress in that three individuals will get up or down votes.

But to me it does stop far short of guaranteeing judicial nominees of the up or down votes for other nominees and other nominees in the future. I say that with civility and trust and with the MOU being a starting point and the spirit in which it was generated, I think we can successfully bring these judicial nominees to a vote. It will be spun by the left and right in various ways but I look at that MOU which I didn't sign off on because it stops far short of what we want, but it does show a way to go forward with nominees with filibuster. Frist:

Other qualified nominees deserve the same up or down vote. The agreement stops far short of the principal that I have brought to the floor.
The agreement if followed in good faith will make filibusters in the future, including Supremem Court nominees, almost impossible. The words in the agreement about extraordinary circumstances, obviously I'm concerned about that because if extraordinary circumstances are described about people like Miguel Estrada, then this agreement will mean very little.

Frist continues, the constitutional option remains on the table. It remains an option and I won't hesitate to use it if necessary as a last resort. It is the only response if there is a change in response like the last Congress. My goal is restoring the principal of fairness for 214 years until the last Congress for up or down votes.

If the other side of the aisle continues the obstructionism and filibustering, the constitutional option will come out once again and I'll set a date to use it.

It's not a threat. It ought to be used to enforce appropriate behavior. All it does it bring it to the floor. (H/T Peach)

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