Monday, May 02, 2005

A Sensible Solution to the Senate Quagmire over Judicial Nominees

While I think Senate Republicans would be justified in getting rid of the filibusters for judicial nominees if they cannot get a vote on President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, I think it is politically unwise both in the short-term and the long-term. A majority of Americans are against getting rid of the filibuster for judicial nominees. In addition, Republicans will not be in control of the Senate forever and this rule change would be used against them in the future when a Democratic President nominates an "activist judge". But while changing the filibuster rules would have negative political costs for the Republicans, it does not mean the Republicans should sit on their hands and hope the Democrats will allow these Bush nominees to get an up or down vote. Tigerhawk proposes a sensible solution that not only should allow most of the stalled Bush nominees to get a vote on the Senate floor, but also shift any potential political costs from this struggle over the Judiciary to the Democrats. Here's his solution:

If you are going to filibuster, then you should have to filibuster. Filibusters should come at some personal and political cost. We should abolish the candy- ass filibusters of modern times, and require that if debate is not closed it must therefore happen.

The prospect of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy bloviating for hours on C-SPAN would deter filibusters except when the stakes are dire, if for no other reason than the risk that long debate would create a huge amount of fodder for negative advertising. If Frist were to enact the "reform" of the filibuster instead of its repeal, he would seize the high ground. He could take the position that the Republicans are merely rolling back the "worst excesses" of the long period of Democratic majority in the Congress, and that filibusters will still be possible if Senators are willing to lay it all on the line.

Hat Tip: Instapundit