Friday, November 12, 2004

Republicans Gone Wild

Maybe you know, maybe you don't, about the policy of the government concerning the appointment of Supreme Court Justices in the event of a vacant seat. The President presents his picks to the Congress. Congress then debates and has the power to confirm or deny the appointment. In the Senate, though, a Senator can filibuster a motion to stop it from going through. This process just entails them getting up there and saying whatever they want, to fill time, so that the session will come closer to expiring before the filibuster is broken. It takes only 40 of 100 votes to hold up a filibuster, and the Democrats have done it to 10 of Bush's federal court nominees in the past.

Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, has come out and said that this has to stop. Here's the article. He's said, "One way or another, the filibuster of judicial nominees must end." It's not surprising to hear the guy coming out in support of his President's appointments. What is a little surprising, and what makes me a little uneasy, is the "One way or another" line. It's like an at-all-costs, end-justifies-the-means type of thing. He's hinted that he's in favor of an actual change in the rules of the Senate that would prevent such filibustering in the future.

Now I'm no great fan of filibustering (besides that in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington...ever see that flick? Jimmy Stewart is the man!), but I think that it's dangerous for the Republicans to try to push their "mandate" so far that they feel they have the right to change the rules in such a way to quash opposition to their own views. Pah. Pah, I say. These are important issues, and there's a reason why a minority is allowed to have the power to delay them. Like I said, I'd be pissed if I got filibustered, but I can understand why the rule is there (and by the way, the fact that the filibuster rule is in place is evidence that 40% of a vote is a valuable enough portion of the population to merit some much of the vote did Kerry get again? Mandate, what?). Anyway, that's my take.