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May 23, 2005

Killing the filibuster to save the filibuster

-- by Gary Boatwright

It looks to me like the Democrats agreed to kill the filibuster to save the filibuster.

Am I missing something? Didn't the Democrats agree not to filibuster to preserve their right to filibuster? Going in all Bush wanted was a judge as radical as Scalia or Thomas. Now Bush can nominate a judge as radical as Owens or Brown and the Democrats have already agreed not to filibuster them.

If Bush nominates two or three judges as radical as Owens or Brown, won't that make Scalia and Thomas the new centrist middle of the Supreme Court?

Posted by Gary Boatwright at May 23, 2005 8:52 PM

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Comments

The Dems have not agreed not to filibuster, and any individual Senator is free to use the filibuster as before. There are even rumors of several Republicans voting againt the nominees that ARE being sent to the floor for a vote.

Yes, the Republicans can betray the deal, but as of tonite we still have a Republic. In my opinion this was that serious.

Posted by: Dave Johnson at May 23, 2005 10:07 PM

The Decembrist points out something I missed, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the "Totally Unacceptable" Nuke Deal:

Second, I think the language in the agreement about how every Senator will follow his or her "own discretion and judgment in determining whether [extraordinary] circumstances exist" in a vague way takes care of my concern. It's boilerplate language, but it makes clear that the judgment about future filibusters is independent of anything in the deal itself. In a way, it reminds me of the language in the Bush v. Gore decision where the Court declared that its use of the equal protection standard applied to this case only one a one-time basis. I see this as an agreement to confirm Brown and Owen one time only, to get this crisis behind us.

And the Left Coaster points out a benefit that is definitely a positive development :

Tonight also did something that both Frist and the White House must notice. Keep in mind that Cheney wanted to do away with another piece of congressional power here and move another step closer to the omnipotent imperial presidency. Neither he, nor Frist's presidential ambitions got served tonight. Instead, an endangered species re-emerged tonight: the Senate moderates. Not only did they emerge, but the elder statesmen from both parties (Warner and Byrd) stepped in and took the car keys away from Frist and to a degree, from Cheney.

Anything that lessens the influence of Darth Cheney is one big step forward for Democracy.

Posted by: GaryBoatwright at May 23, 2005 11:19 PM

David Sirota observes OK, It's Possible Rove IS Crying:

First and foremost - the radical right is freaking out. That means that, policy-wise, we've not only done something right by defeating the "nuclear" option, but politically we've opened up a divide between the lunatic fringe wing of the GOP, and the (albeit dying and tiny) mainstream wing. It also may split open a divide between the economic fat cats and the religious right that make up the GOP base. This is no small achievement - and bodes well for Democrats. As the Republicans themselves have shown in unfortunately splitting Democrats apart on core economic issues, when parties break apart, their own power is weakened.

Posted by: GaryBoatwright at May 23, 2005 11:27 PM

How both sides play their chips is going to be the deciding factor. From Think Progress, The DeWine Caveat:

Some of you who are looking at the language may wonder what some of the clauses mean. The understanding is – and we don’t think this will happen – but if an individual senator believes in the future that a filibuster is taking place under something that’s not extraordinary circumstances, we of course reserve the right to do what we could have done tomorrow which is to cast a yes vote for the constitutional option.

hmmm. After one misfire on the nuclear option, will Frist be willing or able to load it up again? If not Frist, who will step forward to pick up the nuclear option football? Disarray in the disciplined Republican Reichstag is a welcome development. Let's hope Harry Reid is as politically adroit as his reputation suggests. Just tell the truth and the Republicans will think they're in Hell.

Posted by: GaryBoatwright at May 23, 2005 11:40 PM

ok, let me get this right....the Radical Right, a group that has raised false martyrdom to an art form, is complaining that “they wuz robbed” and that is taken as a sign that in fact they were? Is that the formulation? Am I to fall for that?

Posted by: jon st at May 24, 2005 5:19 AM

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