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Old 12-06-2011, 02:09 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Exiled to South Jersey
Posts: 2,436
Default Democrats were fools to take the Gang of 14 deal. Surprise!

So fellow filibuster opponent Matt Yglesias has been saying for a while that the Dems should have just let the Republicans kill the filibuster back in 2005, since the judicial filibuster screws over both sides equally, while getting a bunch of right wingers on the Federal bench only helps Republicans. I think that was a pretty strong argument against that deal, but it becomes an incredibly strong argument if it turns out that Dems don't get filibuster-free judicial nominations:

As Felicia Sonmez notes, all four remaining "Gang of 14" Republicans voted against cloture, as they did in the case of Goodwin Liu. The deal back then was that the 14 wouldn't support a filibuster except in undefined, or self-defined, "extraordinary circumstances." However, it's been clear that the agreement was a dead letter since about January 20, 2009, although it didn't matter a lot in the 110th Congress, when 60 votes for cloture were relatively easy to come by -- although even then, GOP filibusters slowed down many nominations, even though they only had the power to chew up Senate time and not to ultimately defeat them. And while only two nominations have been defeated by filibuster so far, Republicans continue to insist on 60 votes for every nomination (and therefore are filibustering every single nomination), and have bottled up quite a few others that Harry Reid isn't bringing to the floor because they may not have the votes needed to break the filibuster.

In other words, we're moving more and more rapidly towards a system in which appellate judges cannot be confirmed except in the rare case of a president happening to have a very large party majority in the Senate, something that happens rarely.
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