Filibuster or Bust

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bonnie, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Filibuster or Bust
    By David Holman
    Published 3/17/2005 12:05:36 AM
    WASHINGTON -- How desperate are Democratic senators these days? Desperate enough to place old boy Robert Byrd in the front row at a key gathering, and let him carry on as frantic one-man amen chorus in response to the event's speakers. Move over MoveOn.org, hosts of yesterday's rally against the Bush judicial nominations at the Washington Court Hotel in Northwest. None of you guys can shake a fist and shriek like the silver fox from West Virginia.

    Many big guns were dragged out to blast from the podium: Minority Leader Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Byrd, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton. Each in turn denounced potential challenges to their promised filibusters of federal judicial nominees. Buoyed by an enthusiastic crowd still sore about an "unjust war" and the Ohio presidential vote, the senators outlined their vision.

    Reid insisted that reports of his desire to shut down the Senate over the judges "couldn't be... further from the truth." He was referring to his Tuesday press conference, where he announced that Democrats would block Senate business if judicial nominees are afforded an up-or-down vote, also known as the "constitutional" or "nuclear" option. Reid told the crowd he would rather act on health care, education, the deficit, and energy policy, but unfortunately he has to confront the president's "arrogance of power."

    So he is, in other words, prepared to shut the Senate down. He seemed unconcerned that such a move would hurt the Democrats as it did the Republicans in the winter of 1996. He thinks he can peel off Republicans from the majority. As he told the MoveOn activists, "we cannot win this battle... on our own." He urged them to work on winning over "Republicans of good will."

    After Reid, the senators stuck to a fairly basic script: denounce "ideologue" judges "out of the mainstream," profess a newfound respect for the Constitution and 200 years of history, and claim that obstructing duly-elected, majority-representing bodies is a principled defense of the minority.

    A couple of the senators preemptively apologized for inconsistency. No, not Byrd, who tried filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and four times "nuked" filibusters himself. Barbara Boxer admitted that when she was young and foolish, a freshman senator in 1994, she "thought it was a good idea to get rid of the filibuster." She wasn't specific, but she may have had in mind her plea for an up-or-down vote on Clinton's surgeon general nominee, Henry Foster. But she apparently forget similar demands she made as late as 2000.

    Dick Durbin must have understood the irony of encouraging obstruction before an organization formed to encourage the Senate to "move on" past impeachment. So he recast MoveOn's history, portraying its beginning as a response to "government focused on petty politics." And now, he said, with People for the American Way's Ralph Neas standing just offstage, monitoring his minions, MoveOn is making "sure the country doesn't sell out to special interest groups."

    Even weaker was the Democrats' effort to paint their filibustering as a defense of tradition and history. True, it played well for the crowd and cameras yesterday. But once substance is taken into consideration the strategy fizzles. Bob Byrd can wave his copy of the Constitution and claim it's "under attack," but he can't cite where Article II's "advice and consent" requires a super-majority. "Opponents of the filibuster see no need to rely on Jefferson," among others, Byrd said, even though Thomas Jefferson was in Paris at the time.

    more
    http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=7901
     
  2. SmarterThanYou
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    It's ridiculous to hear such an outcry about ONLY 95% of your judges being approved.

    If the so-called 'nuclear' option is used both parties will regret it dearly. yes, that includes you republicans.
     
  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Frankly, I think it will allow the Senate to be less obstructionist, for both parties. Of course, since the Dems won't control the Senate anytime soon, it works to the GOP's favor.
     
  4. SmarterThanYou
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    obstructionist? should it have always been 51 votes rules?

    of course, but how will the GOP react when the dems DO regain control(you know they eventually will.....that ole pendulum effect)?

    heres something for thought though....

    after 95% of bush's nominees have been approved there is such a HUGE political push for these 10 nominees that have been considered 'ultra conservative(not a term I would use, I like 'extremists') whats going to happen IF/WHEN these nominees are put on the bench? I have some strange feeling that we'll see a huge rift develop between economic classes because of it.
     
  5. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    There, however, is no constitutional framework that says that senators should not have the right to unlimited debate. But, the filibuster which permits a small minority and even one Senator to stop a piece of legislation, was not intended by the framers at all. In fact, it has been argued by some that because the Constitution does lay down the times when a supermajority is needed, (e.g. 2/3 vote for convicting an impeached president and for signing treaties), therefore, only a majority should be needed to pass any legislation. This is further backed up by the Supreme Court Decision in United States v. Ballin, 1892. In this case, Justice David Brewer, speaking for the majority says, “the general rule of all parliamentary bodies is that when a majority is present, the act of the majority of the quorum is the act of the body. This has been the rule for all time, except so far as in any given case, the terms of the organic act under which the body is assembled have prescribed specific limitations. ”


    http://www.juntosociety.com/government/filibuster.htm

    Point is it's not constitutional for either side to be doing this. Having a straight up or down majority vote on nominees is what the framers intended.
     
  6. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    "considered extremeist" by whom and from your point of view what laws have they upheld that you find extreme?
     
  7. SmarterThanYou
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    I've stated my position on a few of these and why I feel these shouldn't even be nominated. I've provided what I thought were decent points from these nominees rulings and/or dissents to show why I felt that way. What I got were changes of topic, reversals of argument, and spin to redefine something to basically say its bad for democrat/liberal judges to be that way but perfect for republican/conservative judges to be that way. I'm frankly tired of wasting my time on putting up the same things and having them 'pooh poohed' away because most people can't get past the liberal/conservative argument. Feel free to look up old posts by me concerning them if you want to see the info.
     
  8. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    I will do that, thanks.
     
  9. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    IMO, yes. Isn't that the whole concept of majority?
     
  10. SmarterThanYou
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    concept? yes, 51 is a majority, however, in instances where something affects the entire nation for years to come a simple majority of 1 vote more should not even be considered. I also don't believe thats what the framers of this country wanted either. The so called 'super majority' was there to prevent what is actually being considered today. The power of a majority overruling the rights of a minority.

    The only reason that the nuclear option is now an option is that its strictly become republican vs. democrat. I'll tell you right now that as an independent, i'm furious at both parties because of this. I'm even more frustrated because my rights at a fair and impartial judiciary are being circumvented by a political party squabble and those that are siding with either side.
     

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