Going Nuclear

Obama Administration

GOP senators have blocked the nominations of three judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The senators didn’t even pretend to argue that the nominees (an African-American man and two women, btw) were not qualified. No, they argued that (1) the court doesn’t need 11 judges and can make do with three less; and (2) the court is balanced between Republican and Democratic nominees, and three Democratic nominees would throw it out of balance..

As to the first claim, we’re talking about the nation’s second-highest court, which handles cases involving federal regulations and national security. Complicated stuff. Eleven judges don’t seem too many to me. As to the second claim, Media Matters says that isn’t entirely true. And, anyway, Barack Obama won the 2012 election.

Harry Reid is once again threatening to “go nuclear” and change filibuster rules. But will he really do it this time, or wimp out again? Word is that some Dem senators who were cool to the idea in the past, e.g., Diane Feinstein, are frustrated enough to have changed their minds.

Changing the filibuster rules is not without risk, if you consider a future hypothetical right-wing Congress. And Brian Beutler thinks the Republicans want the Dems to at least try to change the filibuster rules for that very reason. Right now they think they can take back the Senate in 2014, and “Getting Democratic fingerprints on the nuclear rule-change precedent, will provide Republicans the cover they’ll need to eliminate the filibuster altogether in January 2015.”

But, as Charles Pierce says,

It’s time, Harry. Really, it is. I was on the other side of this issue for a very long time because I didn’t want to confront the possibility of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with the unlimited power to do anything that President Scott Walker wanted. That kind of thing still gives me pause. But this business with the judges has long passed over the International Fk You Line.

Yeah, pretty much.

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  1. justme  •  Nov 20, 2013 @6:21 pm

    Listen, Harry might as well have done this when Obama came into office. If you think the right needs Harry to do it first for cover that is just non-sense. If you think they wont do this the second they get the chance- well sorry but you are stupid. They don’t give a rats behind about how they are perceived, they don’t care about rules and procedures (do I need to show you a picture of ted cruz here?)..They don’t give a shit about anything but how to cram their stupid , outdated crap down the American peoples throat and if this group of folks get into power they are going to punish the shit out of every single person who has held their agenda back. So screw them. The rules are changing YEARS too late. Don’t change the rules and you can have more of the same or change the rules and get some shit done. This is the left’s time and if they don’t start using it to improve things you can bet the right will change it when the American people give up on the left and give the right another chance…Heaven help us all if that happens.

  2. Dan  •  Nov 20, 2013 @7:52 pm

    So, the Republicans are court-unpacking…

    Didn’t they have problems when a President in the 1930s tried that?

  3. Dan  •  Nov 20, 2013 @7:59 pm

    justme: in fact, if you look at the Bush Residency, you will find that the states that voted for him were treated quite well, and the ones that did not vote for him had Federal funds taken away from them regularly. Then there is the Bush court-packing attempt – removing and replacing judges who ruled for the Constitution. Republicans are now abusing the filibuster, and have been for almost 5 years.

    It already has happened; I predict it will happen again regardless of Harry’s actions. I say: “NUKE ‘EM!” and get some actual legislation done – put the ball in front and center of the Republican Party for all the public to see.

  4. moonbat  •  Nov 20, 2013 @8:26 pm
  5. chris  •  Nov 20, 2013 @9:21 pm

    It comes down to this: 1) Does the GOP hope Reid goes Nuclear, so they have their reason to change the rules to their advantage if they win the Senate? 2) Does anybody really believe the GOP would keep the filibuster if they win the Senate regardless of what Reid does?

    One allows them to do so as a matter of principle (i.e the Dems did it first).
    Two is done because they have no principles.

  6. Tom_B  •  Nov 21, 2013 @7:58 am

    We’ve got to kill the filibuster. That one woman judicial appointee – forget her name, but she’ argued cases before the SCOTUS 32 times- she deserves a vote. I’m sure the other two need to be re-examined as well.

    As for composition of the Senator– our Kay Hagan is up to re-election next year. She’s got incumbent advantage and her opponents are coming from the NC state legislator– people about as popular as leprosy right now. No guarantee she’ll prevail, but I’ll hand her this — she’s fighting, running TV ads ALREADY.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 21, 2013 @8:06 am

    And in their typical shameless manner, a lot of these Republican Senators are the same ones who were screeching, “Up or down vote! Up Or Down Vote!! UP OR DOWN VOTE!!!”, less than ten years ago on W’s nominee’s, like Mynah Birds on PED’S.

    I, too, was on the other side of this issue, for my whole life, but now the time has come.

    “NUKE ‘EM,” Harry!!!!!

  8. Buckyblue  •  Nov 21, 2013 @8:09 am

    Kill the filibuster, get rid of the holds and any other arcane rule the Senate has. What it doesn’t allow for is the people to see the results of the last election. We really don’t know what the results of Obama’s policies are, because they’ve never been implemented. Save the ACA. I’m kinda surprised the repugs don’t run on the fact that they kept Obama in check, and the economy has been improving without huge gov’t spending. At least here in WI, with repug control of the state house, the people can vote next year on the success or failure of Scott walker’s policies. At least they have the proof of what they did or didn’t vote for. Onthe national level, things like the filibuster keep people from seeing that.

  9. Stephen Stralka  •  Nov 21, 2013 @12:02 pm

    justme is right. It’s safe to assume that a Republican Senate majority will nuke the filibuster as soon as the Democrats try to use it. My feeling is that the filibuster is already dead–the GOP killed it–and now it just needs to be put out of our misery.