By the sound of it, the words chosen, the blustering posturing you would think the recent quarrelling over judicial nominees amounts to something important. Republican lawmakers have threatened to use the “nuclear option” as it has absurdly been dubbed – the idea that the parliamentary procedure known as the filibuster essentially be banned from certain proceedings. They want to do this not because they believe the practice is poor politics but rather that it suits them now. After all there were no cries from the right to ban the filibuster when congressional republicans were blocking Clinton nominees (65 blocked in all) via the use of such measures.
“When the Democrats think that all the President has to do is to kick up some appointments to the Federal judiciary and that we’re just gonna take ’em whole hog and pop ’em right out…well, that’s not my intent.” Trent Lott – R [The Bulletin’s Frontrunner, 1/21/97]
Now, after the Democrats have passed over 200 of Bush’s judicial nominees Republicans are making it very clear their interests in working with and for the other half of the country. Nowhere is the Republican’s desires for absolute power more evident than in their quest to push through these last 10 nominees.
Most reasonable people when presented with conflict attempt to find ways to work through the problem. Perhaps te Republicans should be content that 95% of their nominations have passed and consider nominating other more moderate candidates for the last 10 slots. Instead, it would seem, Republicans want to stack the courts with judges who will actively look to change laws and culture from the bench. I thought I heard some folks complaining about that type of practice a while back…can’t quite remember who it was…
In a speech from the house floor on April 25, 2005, Senator Barbara Boxer eloquently states the following:
“We have confirmed 205 of George W. Bush’s nominees to the courts. we have stopped ten. Okay, let me say it again: 205 have gotten through and we have stopped 10.
Now, do the math, and I will say to you: in your life, if you get 95% of what you want, wouldn’t you go around with a smile on your face? I would. If I got 95% of what I want from the Senate, I’d be so happy. If I got 95% of what I wanted from my family, if they saw it my way 95% of the time, I’d be happy. Especially when they were teenagers. I’d be really happy. But, you know what? If I was arrogant and I wanted everything and I thought I knew best all the time and I wanted to grab all the power, I would be sulking.
So these folks over here, who got 95% of what they want — 205 judges and then ten that we thought were out of the mainstream — and, by the way, wow, are they out of the mainstream? They are unhappy, and now they’re going to change the rules in the middle of the game.
For 200 years of our Constitution, we have been able to speak and express ourselves. And I’ve got to tell you, this is dangerous to our democracy when one party wants it all. When one party wants to stop minority rights, that is dangerous, and that’s where we’re at.”