Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Constitutional Option

I think I may have ruffled some feathers with my analysis of John McCain last Sunday (see John McCain-(RINO)Arizona) when I suggested that he should side with his own party and quit making decisions on judicial nominations based on what could happen in the future. I have received some feedback stating that I shouldn't want to eliminate the filibuster because I surely wouldn't be happy if the Republicans didn't have the same option, when and if, a Democratic controlled congress tries to one day "shove through" a bunch of liberal justices. This feedback misses my point entirely.

I can't understand why some people don't realize the importance of these nominees getting an up or down vote, whether they be liberal or conservative. Does anyone honestly believe that the Democrats would hesitate for a second to initiate the so-called "nuclear option" if they were in the same position? Of course they would! And they would be right to do it!

Philip Terzian in the April 25th issue of theWeekly Standard:

But let's call this "nuclear option" by its proper name: the fairness option. Senate Democrats are the ones who have, in effect, gone nuclear--requiring a supermajority of 60 senators to approve judges. Listening to Democrats, and reading editorial commentary, Mr. and Mrs. America might have gained the impression that the three-fifths Senate vote required to end debate was dictated by James Madison on his deathbed. Hardly. Cloture is a Senate rule, not a constitutional requirement. It was President Woodrow Wilson, frustrated by the Senate's indulgence of endless talk, who promoted the adoption of Rule XXII, mandating a two-thirds vote for cloture. Sixty years later, Senate Democrats, led by Robert Byrd, reduced the two-thirds requirement to three-fifths. The sacred principle of requiring 60 votes to end a filibuster is neither an ideal of the Founders nor a historic precedent: It is a procedural rule less than 30 years old. And, in the long history of the United States, filibusters have never been used by a minority systematically to block a president's judicial nominees.

I cannot understand the thinking that leads some people to believe that the majority should just sit back and let the minority run the country because they are afraid that one day we will no longer be in the majority. What is the point of winning at the ballot box if you are unwilling to further the agenda that allowed you to win in the first place?

The President of the United States is entitled to get an up or down vote on all of these judicial nominees and this process of obstruction needs to end now. A simple majority is all that is required by our constitution, so Bill Frist and the Republicans in the Senate need to do whatever it takes to get these judges up or down votes. If the Democrats get offended, so be it! There comes a time when it becomes necessary to do the right thing for the country, regardless of politics. This is one of those times.

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