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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Smilin' Norm Loves that Nuclear Option

Posted by: Hammer / 9:45 AM

Coleman to support Republican plan to curb filibusters
Senator Norm Coleman says he will support efforts to prevent filibusters of federal judges.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has threatened to change Senate rules, so that a vote of 51 Senators could stop a filibuster -- instead of the current 60.

Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, argues that filibusters were never intended to be used for judicial nominees.

Let's start with numbers. 96% of Bush's judicial nominees have been confirmed. In 1999 and 2000, only 62% of Clinton's judicial nominees were confirmed. Senate Democrats have been far more accommodating of Bush's nominees than Senate Republicans were.

Republicans blocked so many nominees by changing the rules. Under Republican leadership, the "blue-slip" policy was abused so that no nominee could get a hearing unless both home state Senators consented. Sen. Orrin Hatch, crafter of the rule, explained:

[T]he Administration's failure to consult in genuine good faith with both home state senators itself is grounds for a Senator's return of a negative blue slip. Where the Administration has failed to provide good faith pre-nomination consultation, a negative blue slip is treated as dispositive, and precludes Committee consideration of a judicial nominee.
When Bush took office, the Republican Senate changed the rules, so that they would no longer honor the blue slip policy. Democrats were left with one option: the filibuster. Republicans would need 67 votes to change the Senate's rule allowing the filibuster of judicial nominees. Republicans don't have 67 votes, so they want to break the rules to change the rules. Again.

Republicans intend to ask Vice President Cheney to rule that filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutional. It would only take 51 votes to uphold Cheney's ruling. In the Senate, this procedure has been dubbed the "nuclear option". Many moderate Republicans are concerned that such a maneuver would destroy any chance of bipartisanship within the Senate.

Not Smilin' Norm. Senator Coleman has signaled that he is ready to be one of those 51 votes that would replace the Constitutional mandate of advice and consent with undignified fealty to power. Note to Norm: no one can see those new pearly whites while you're puckered up and kissing ass.

Also posted at Minnesota Republican Watch.



Of real concern is how long would it take for this to be tried at the Supreme Court level and what would happen to any appointees that were appointed using what may be an unconstitutional method?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:09 PM  

The immediate concern would be whether the Supreme Court Dems would even bother to file a court challenge.

By Blogger Hammer, at 12:17 PM  

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