Friday, November 22, 2013

Here's Why the Nuclear Option is Important

See Harry Reid's smiling face in the middle of this?
If you're still a bit confused why the modification of the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate is important, let the NYTimes explain it for you (this morning's editorial):

" ... half of all filibusters waged against nominations in Senate history have occurred since Mr. Obama was elected. Twenty of his district court nominees were filibustered; only three such filibusters took place before he took office. There has also been a record-setting amount of delay in approving the president’s choices for cabinet positions and federal agency posts, even when no objections have been raised about a nominee’s qualifications."

During the Bush administration (when 170 of 179 district court judge nominees were approved), Republicans said this when Dems filibustered on rare occasions, usually over extreme right-wing judges (source: here):

Rush Limbaugh: "The Constitution says nothing about this. The Constitution says simple majority, 51 votes."

Sean Hannity: "I believe it is unconstitutional to filibuster."

Wall Street Journal: Using the nuclear option is better than letting "a willful majority deny the president's nominees a vote on the Senate floor."

Rich Lowry: Judicial filibusters are "A perversion" of checks and balances and should be eliminated via the nuclear option.

Karl Rove: "Fairness means ... an up or down vote."

Bill Kristol: "Congress' role in approving executive-branch nominees is to have an up or down vote."

Pat Robertson: "These filibusters have been unconstitutional. ... I just think the majority should say, `Look, we want an up or down vote.'"

The point of all this is that judges make a huge difference. George Bush, in eight years, appointed two Supreme Court justices, 61 Appeals Court judges, and 261 Federal District Court judges. The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, that elections can be purchased by the rich and consistently ruled in favor of institutions over people. The rightward tilt of the judicial system will keep the Republicans in control of our country for years in spite of what elections do to the presidency and the congress.


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