Tuesday, April 26, 2005
There is no reason to compromise.
The Democrats use of the "legislative" filibuster is not even constitutional. Here is an excerpt from a piece by Charles Colson with an originalist view of the subject:
A survey found that two-thirds of the public would like to leave things as they are, but they are mixing up the constitutionally allowed filibuster from the recently conjured "legislative" filibuster which does not even require those conducting the filibuster to hold the floor, or to put some elbow greese into such an effort. So it basically boils down to a minority veto, which was in no way an intention of the founders. If people understood that, i.e., if the survey was conducted properly, the survey results would be inverted.
Democratic senators have for months been filibustering judges chosen by President Bush to serve on the federal courts. If the full Senate were allowed to vote on these fine judges, they would easily be confirmed. But a hostile minority is using the filibuster tactic to prevent such a vote—purely for ideological reasons.
In so doing, they are behaving as if the Senate is supposed to have equal say with the president in deciding who sits on the court. That is nonsense.
The Constitution could not be clearer. The nomination is made by the president alone. The Senate is to give its advice and consent—not demand ideological purity. Alexander Hamilton explained the intent in his essay number 76. “It is not likely,” he wrote, “that [the Senate’s] sanction would often be refused where there were not special and strong reasons for the refusal.”
The advice and consent clause, continued, was intended to provide a check upon a president who would, say, appoint his brother, or engage in favoritism, or reward family connections or personal benefactors—nothing more.
And yet, today a Senate minority is using the filibuster to prevent a vote on highly qualified judges, like Bill Pryor or Miguel Estrada, an able Hispanic lawyer who was nominated and had to be withdrawn, and Janice Brown, an African-American judge from California. And the grounds for opposition is not what the constitutional framers intended; it’s ideological. They just do not like what these judges believe.
This filibuster should offend us for another reason. The founders, informed by their Christian understanding of the Fall, provided for a system of checks and balances so that no one branch of government would have power over the other. But today a minority in the Congress is holding hostage judges named to the court. This is a fundamental assault on an independent judiciary and, thus, a violation of the balance of powers.
Since the Democrats have been unruly and unreasonable about the appointment of judges; since there is a fear that Republicans will place judges with originalist views on the court, and are taking every opportunity to obstruct that, such as nominees like John Bolton, then it's time, high time, to shut them down.
No compromise. As the Nike ad says: just do it. Hit the nuclear button.
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