Thursday, April 21, 2005

What's the Difference?

Before people send tons of comments about how I'm wrong in my first post, first explain something to me. What is the intellectually honest argument to be made that getting rid of the judicial filibuster is a good idea, but that we should keep the appointment and legislative filibuster?

After all, if the Senate Democrats are going to be allowed to filibuster the next U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. (if Chairman Lugar can ever twist enough of his colleagues arms to even hold a vote on the matter), then why shouldn't they be allowed to use a filibuster against a federal judicial nominee? After all, if it's the constitutional argument that the advise-and-consent clause doesn't require a supermajority of 60 argument for one, doesn't that argument also apply to the others?

There is only one reason to explain the discrepancy: the GOP leadership is more interested in getting their ideologically judges in as opposed to appointing qualified judges who aren't supported by narrow ideological special-interest groups.

Here's the article where Sen. Majority Leader Frist claims only the judicial filibuster is on the chopping block: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/04/19/national/w094640D57.DTL.

I've never been a fan of the cliche "slippery slope" argument. It's the kind of overused rhetoric notorious in Moot Court competitions or classroom discussion. Almost everything can be described as a slippery slope if you wanted. But in this instance, what prevents the GOP from whittling away the rights of the minority in the Senate even further? Frist has no answer. Normally, courts avoid sliding down the slope by drawing a clear line that has a rational articulable basis for making a distinction. Here?

So for those of you who think the Democrats are wrong to insist that a filibuster should continue to be available for judicial nominees, I ask you: how are filibusters bad for judicial and not other nominees? And why should the Senate get rid of some filibusters, but keep others like the legislative filibusters? And what's so dangerous about requiring positions with life-time appointments to receive bipartisan support (i.e.- at least 5 Democratic votes)? Is it really THAT hard? Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, tax cuts, and other legislative achievements strongly suggest it's not that hard.

Note that both conservative and liberal organizations have come out in support of the Senate Democrats. While I'm no fan of "slippery slopes," one can hardly claim they are being unreasonably paranoid. If the Senate does get rid of the judicial filibuster, would anyone bet that a threat of a filibuster of U.N. nominee John Bolton would not lead to an attempt to another Senate rule change?

Something tells me Vegas won't open up a line on this issue.

3 comments:

OLS said...

Damn you liberals - always looking for some "intellectually honest" argument. Come on - get off it! ;)

"love ur blog" by the way!

Modern Esquire said...

Har har....

Kagro X said...

Woohoo! Gotcha by two days! Excellent call, though.