Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bombs away

I completely agree. There is absolutely no reason for Democrats to keep the judicial filibuster.

The whole reason it is called "the nuclear option" is because eliminating the right to filibuster would cause the minority party to bring the business of the Senate to a halt by doing stuff like blocking all nominees to a court regardless of their individual qualifications.

Given their filibuster anything the President wants strategy, there isn't all that much Republicans can do to retaliate that they aren't doing already. So Harry Reid might as well pull that nuclear trigger.

Which goes back to yesterday's post. Senate Republicans are being remarkably stupid about this. I mean, Reid and his democratic caucus have been really reluctant to change the filibuster rules (for fear that some day they will be in the minority and will want to use those rules themselves, never mind that the GOP would immediately end the filibuster if it got in their way). All the GOP had to do was block two of the three D.C. Circuit nominees and then reach yet another bullshit face-saving "deal" on the third, where the President agrees to nominate someone else to the seat who the Republicans promise not to filibuster, and the judicial filibuster gets another lease on life allowing the GOP to continue to block Obama's nominees as they run out the clock on his second term. Reid would have gone for a deal like that because his caucus would not have held enough votes to nuke if he turned it down. Republicans would have gotten most of what they wanted (the D.C. Circuit would still have a GOP majority if you count the senior judges, and the President would not get most of the seats filled). Plus, they would be able to hold onto the filibuster card for some later battle down the road, maybe as close down the road as next week.

If, on the other hand, Reid nukes the filibuster, the Democrats could shove through nominees for all 19 circuit court vacancies, not to mention all the district court vacancies, and the district and circuit court nominees that will arise in the next three years. If Obama makes judicial nominees a priority in a post-filibuster world, he could remake the federal judiciary.

It's not 100% sure that Reid has the votes to end the judicial filibuster, and I guess him not having the votes is what the GOP is betting on. But if he does, Republicans are basically forcing him to go nuclear. And if he doesn't, this is another example of crass obstructionism that will make getting the votes next time they do it a little easier.