Filibuster Politics

There is a debate on whether to restore the filibuster for judges. I’m divided on the issue. Mike Hammond, who I respect a great deal, is in favor of it. I’m sympathetic to it because the goal is to protect conservatives from nominees like Harriet Meirs in the future. And, frankly, there are enough terrible Republicans to go along with Obama’s picks, we should probably make it more difficult to appoint them. Nonetheless, that position is in the minority compared to those below. I’m posting these at the request of several friends:

Memo from 26 Conservative Organizations and Leaders:

“Make no mistake, reviving the filibuster for nominations would significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the probability that the most qualified and most committed constitutionalists would be nominated or confirmed in a future Republican administration.”

The Editors, National Review:

“Bringing back the judicial filibuster would be more antiquarian and quixotic than restorative. . . .The 60-vote rule for legislation, thanks to its long history of use and the range of competing interests in the Senate, is likely to survive under either party. It does not owe its survival to the vitality of the judicial filibuster. There are a number of difficult questions that face next year’s Republican Senate majority. This is not one of them.”

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The Editors, Wall Street Journal:

“Senate Republicans are debating whether to restore the 60-vote filibuster rule for confirming presidential nominees to the executive branch and lower courts. It’s nice to imagine a Kumbaya moment that would restore Senate comity, but this is a case when the GOP could do more political harm if it tries to undo Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Harry Reid11%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard11% ‘s damage.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Orrin Hatch55%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard55% and C. Boyden Gray:

“The Senate can and must be restored as a check on executive-branch overreach, a forum for true legislative debate and a bulwark for liberty. But unilateral disarmament on nominations would only invite further damage to the institution.”


“I don’t think it makes any sense for us to go back, because what will happen if we do that, is it becomes a one-way ratchet. It becomes, there’s a 60 vote threshold for confirming Republican nominees, …read more    

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