April 27, 2005
On filibusters

The politico-centric portion of the blogosphere is expending a great deal of time and effort over the judicial filibustering issue, with the predictable party-line breakdown. I'll toss in my two cents on the issue.

Democrats have alleged that they are not the first to filibuster judges, but the facts are a little different than what they claim. Abe Fortas, who was threatened with a filibuster by a bipartisan opposition, was also corrupt, and soon after resigned from the Supreme Court under ethical stormclouds and talk of impeachment. (Note that he was already on the Supreme Court; it was his proposed elevation to Chief Justice that was blocked.) Rosemary Barkett, Lee Sarokin, and Marsha Berzon (Clinton nominees) were subjected to halfheated filibuster attempts; none succeeded and all three were confirmed to appeals courts. Richard Paez could have been filibustered (he received fewer than 60 votes when he was confirmed), but his nomination also went through. Henry Foster (not a judge) was filibustered, but I guarantee that if a Republican had nominated a doctor who performed involuntary sterilizations to the post of Surgeon General, the screams of "FASCISM" from the left would blow out everyone's eardrums, and NOW would have been shrieking for impeachment.

"What about Ronnie White?", one may ask. Ronnie White was the only Clinton judicial nominee to be defeated, on a party-line vote. 25 Republican senators who voted to reject the White nomination did not vote against any other Clinton nominee, which can hardly be described as partisan animus. And White at least was afforded a vote on the floor, unlike what is going on now where the Democrats are preventing such votes from occuring.

The Democrats have also trotted out the fact that Republicans failed to push through the nominations of a number of Clinton appointees. This is true, but it does not compare to what is going on now. Republicans had a majority in the Senate during Clinton's last six years in office, so they controlled the flow of which nominees would brought out for a vote. Every Clinton appointee who made it to the floor was afforded a vote, and only one nominee (White) was rejected during Clinton's two terms in office. Now, even though the Republicans have both a majority in the Senate and a president in the White House, Bush's nominees are still being blocked by a recalcitrant minority.

Some of the defenders of the current logjam refer to it as a bulwark against a "tyranny of the majority", and insist that they will stop all legislation in the senate if they don't get their way. This means that a minority will rule, a "tyranny of the minority". There is another term for that—APARTHEID.*

Yes, it's hyperbole. I'm wildly overstating the case to make a point. "Tyranny of the Majority" is equally overstating the case, and I'm tired of watching the left get a free pass for their verbal pyrotechnics. Fight fire with fire (to continue the analogy).

posted on April 27, 2005 10:17 AM


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