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John Wayne's Holster: Go Nuclear!
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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Go Nuclear!

President Bush has nominated seven judges to fill vacant positions in the Federal Courts. The nominees have all been approved in committee and have been sent to the Senate floor for up or down votes. The nominees appear to have majority support and will likely be approved...assuming a vote takes place.

The stakes at play here are big! The issue at hand is an ideological one between the Left and the Right over control of the courts. Presently, the focus is on the federal courts. But in reality, this is just a side show. The main attraction is likely to take place later this summer when it is expected that there will be one or two vacancies on the Supreme Court. Rumor has it that Chief Justice Rehnquist, and maybe Justice O’Conner, will be stepping down. Bush is likely to promote Anton Scalia (or perhaps Clarence Thomas) to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice. His other appointments will undoubtedly be ideological conservatives, thus shifting the court’s balance of power to the right. Issues such as voluntary school prayer, same-sex marriage, and the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade are likely to rest on the outcome.

The Democrats have threatened to filibuster the nominees, who they consider to be too far out of the mainstream. Republicans, led by majority leader Bill Frist (Tenn), have countered by threatening to change Senate rules and do away with the filibuster for judicial nominees – the so-called “nuclear option”. Not to be outdone, Democrats say that they will shut down the Senate if the nuclear option is exercised. Has anyone seen Newt Gingrich lately? Other Democrats say that if the nuclear option is exercised, it would have a negative impact on the bipartisanship that will be important in upcoming issues, like simplifying the tax code and social security reform. Senate Minority leader Harry Reid has gone even further, stating, “I know procedures…I know there will still be Senate business…I will, for lack of a better word, screw things up.” And who said statesmanship was dead?!

Senator Biden (Del) has offered a more sensible plan – a compromise if you will. Essentially, he has agreed shelf the filibuster and accept four of the seven Bush nominees (the more moderate ones), if the Republicans will jilt the rest. Admittedly, the compromise has some endearing features that make it attractive. But the Republicans are not in a position where a compromise is warranted. In fact, to compromise under the circumstances would be a sell-out.

The moral and social issues at the heart of current public debate rightly deserve to be decided democratically, by the people, through their elected representatives (govt. of the people, by the people, for the people). As it stands now, democracy is being thwarted. The will of the people is being circumvented via judicial activism. The Republicans now have the chance overthrow the judicial dictatorship imposed on us by the secularist courts of Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall and Harry Blackmun.

Frist should not compromise! He should go nuclear!


At 10:11 PM, Anonymous brad said...

Why the #^%$&@ should we change senate rules just to get a couple of judges into office? That's like taking andro to hit 70 homers.
The entire point of the filibuster is to protect the power of the minority party so that a "swung majority" can't engender a long-lasting idealogical monopoly on the country. Why not just change "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" to "cheat, cheat and do whatever it takes to win."

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous Joe Verica said...

Why go nuclear? The fillibuster has never been used to block votes on judges who had majority approval. Judges are not capricious pieces of legislation that require tweaking and such to make them acceptable. These judges have all made it out of committe and deserve up or down votes.

I reality, all this nonsense has little to do with these judges. It has more to do with the expected vacancies upcoming in the Supreme Court.

All this talk about exercising the nuclear option was really just a big game of chicken.


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