Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Judicial filibusters and the GOP

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They were against it, now they’re for it—and so clear is the reversal that people are commenting on it:

Dana Milbank:

In their quest to thwart President Obama, Republicans do not fear the hobgoblin of consistency.

For much of this decade, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, now the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, led the fight against Democratic filibusters of George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. He decried Democrats’ "unprecedented, obstructive tactics." To have Bush nominees "opposed on a partisan filibuster, it is really wrong," he added. He demanded they get "an up-and-down vote." He praised Republican leaders because they "opposed judicial filibusters" and have "been consistent on this issue even when it was not to their political benefit to do so."

So now a Democratic president is in the White House and he has nominated his first appellate judicial nominee, U.S. District Judge David Hamilton. And what did Sessions do? He went to the floor and led a filibuster…

Nina Totenberg:

The Senate votes Tuesday on whether to end a Republican filibuster of President Obama’s first judicial nominee, David Hamilton. The story of the Hamilton nomination is just part of a larger judicial nomination picture that shows the president slow on nominating judges and Republicans adept at stalling tactics.

Hamilton has served for 15 years as a federal district court judge in Indiana. He is so widely respected that Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, strongly endorsed his nomination, as did the state president of the conservative Federalist Society. At the confirmation hearing, Lugar praised Hamilton’s "brilliance," "fairness" and commitment to law. "He is the type of lawyer and the type of person one wants to see on the federal bench," Lugar said.

Lugar, noting that he had made a similar introduction of now-Chief Justice John Roberts at his confirmation hearings, used the words of the nation’s founders to warn his Senate colleagues against allowing "the pestilential breath of faction to poison the fountains of justice."

Tuesday, Lugar is expected to be among just a handful of Republicans who will vote to end the filibuster of Hamilton’s nomination.

It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster and allow an up-or-down vote on a nomination. Democratic filibusters of some of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees so infuriated Republicans that they threatened to do away with the century-and-a-half-old rule, using an end run that came to be known as the "nuclear option."

In 2005, Republicans spoke for days about the insult of the judicial filibuster, calling it unconstitutional. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, now the Senate Republican leader, said in 2005 of the Democrats: "For the first time in 214 years they’ve changed the advise and consent responsibilities to advise and obstruct."

North Carolina’s Richard Burr, like many other Republicans, said the debate was about "fairness" and "about principle and …. allowing judicial nominees an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor."

And the man who is now the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, contended that "the Republican leadership have been consistent on this issue even when it was not to their political benefit to do so. We have opposed judicial filibusters and have not supported them."…

The GOP: the political equivalent of acid reflux.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 November 2009 at 10:46 am

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