Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More on Nukes (Filibuster This)

Every politically challenged site on the net seems to have some verbiage decrying the ‘Nuclear Option’. I feel the need to remind them that the first shot was fired by Democrats (In the post-Bork era). Let’s review some history:

Ancient History: The Constitution was drafted in 1789. Article II, Section 2, clause 2 states, in regards to the powers of the president:

‘he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States’

I have provided a link to your right, so feel free to check it out yourself. A search on the word ‘filibuster’ comes up empty. ‘Supermajority’ does not show up either.

The filibuster came about in 1806 and was first used in the 1840s to defend slavery. The ‘cloture’ rule was adopted by the Senate in 1917.

Modern History: During President Bush’s first term, Democrats held the chairmanship of the Judicial Committee as a result of Jim Jeffords defection from the Republican Party. Feeling that Bush was not actually the President (the real president was in exile without a razor) Democrats decided to deny Bush’s nominees a vote on the Senate Floor. It proved an effective method. Safe Democrats could block the nominations while not putting ‘at risk’ Democrats in the position of actually having to vote their obstructionist tendencies. Along came the 2002 elections…most of the ‘at risk’ Democrats proved to be truly at risk.

Having lost all power in all elected branches of government, Democrats turned to the filibuster.

The Nuclear Option: In 2003, for the first time in 214 years (actually 197 since there was no filibuster rule before 1806, but all the cool kids are saying 214, so I will stick with it.) blocked a lower court judicial nomination with a filibuster. It was the first salvo in this political war. In the words of Barbara Boxer:

We have lost all power because we lost touch with the American People on a great range of issues and it is the only thread of hope we have left. Ok she didn’t actually say that, she said:

“Why would we give lifetime appointments to people who earn up to $200,000 a year, with absolutely a great retirement system, and all the things all Americans wish for, with absolutely no check and balance except that one confirmation vote. So we’re saying we think you ought to get nine votes over the 51 required. That isn’t too much to ask for such a super important position. There ought to be a super vote. Don’t you think so? It’s the only check and balance on these people. They’re in for life. They don’t stand for election like we do, which is scary.”

Let me answer her question for you: Because you are in the minority and have no constitutional grounds for your actions. Nor do you have a constitutional defense against Republican actions on this matter. If you don’t like it, win elections and put the rule back in. And remember, you unleashed your nukes back in 03.

Update: Nats Rally

Washington 4, Atlanta 3

Note: This is painful for me to watch, the team of my childhood vs the team within driving distance. I'm referring to the baseball of course. Series at 1-1.