Showdown Approaches - Judicial Filibuster?
The long-awaited "Big Showdown" approaches - but NOT from the anticipated retirement of the aging Chief Justice.
With Justice Sandra O'Connor's surprise resignation from the Supreme Court on Friday, the "Panel of 14" are about to get tested on their May 24th Compromise. Tested hard - and this is just the first one.
For the seven Democrats who joined the renegade group of Senators (Robert Byrd, Daniel Inouye, Mary Landrieu, Joseph Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor, Ken Salazar), this will be a test of their credibility and honor. They pledged to their Republican co-conspirators that "filibusters would be used against judicial nominees only under extraordinary circumstances by the Democratic minority."
On the other hand, the seven Republican senators (Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, Mike DeWine, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, John Warner, Olympia Snowe) risk losing respect and political support within their own constituencies and party. They have taken the word of those seven Democrats. Have, in fact, staked their own reputations on a verbal agreement - and that includes presidential hopeful McCain, who will surely lose support should this arrangement go south.
On Sean Hannity's radio talk show today, Lindsey Graham explained this arrangement and his own position on what is looming before Congress in the replacement of Judge O'Connor. Not only did he make clear that "The Supreme Court" does not (of itself) meet the "extraordinary circumstances" requirement for filibuster. When asked if he would stand with Senate Majority Leader Frist, should the seven Democrats break their word, he answered that YES, he would back the so-called "Nuclear Option" to end filibusters on judicial nominees once and for all.
While I do hope that the Senate has grown up a bit over the last few months, given that President Bush has made campaign promises to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court, methinks that the American public is about to get re-introduced (kicking and screaming) to this judicial filibuster business. All of this caused by a refusal to allow traditioal up-or-down votes due to inexplicable Bush-hating, bitter liberal nonsense and bluster while our young folks in uniform fight on - no doubt scratching their heads with the rest of us.