Ending the Filibuster for Nominations

Nuke the filibuster.

The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court today on a straight party-line vote, 11-9.The nomination now heads to the floor and the Democrats say they will filibuster to prevent his appointment. According to the New York Times, Democrats now have the votes to prevent cloture, the cutting off of debate.

Majority leader Mitch McConnell has said, flatly, that Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed and that how he would be confirmed was up to the Democrats. That sounds like the nuclear option, ending the filibuster for nominations. I hope that happens.
The Senate, according to Thomas Jefferson, is meant to be “the saucer in which to cool the coffee.” The House, all of whose members are up for election every two years, tends to respond to every political whim. The Senate, with six-year terms and only one-third up for election every two years, is supposed to be more deliberative and take a wider view. (Whether it does, of course, is another story.)
The filibuster, which essentially means that sixty votes are needed to pass legislation, helps that happen. By empowering the minority, it forces legislation towards the center, as the majority, unless it has a very large majority, has to compromise with the minority to get things done. This is simple political horse trading: we’ll give you this if you give us that.
But with nominations, no compromising is possible. Either Judge Gorsuch is confirmed or he is not. No horses can change hands. So to have a filibuster with nominations is not to empower the minority, it is to give it a veto on all nominations and, in effect, to negate the results of the last election.  And in a democracy, according to Barack Obama, elections are supposed to have consequences.
So I look forward to the showdown this week and to seeing the end of the profoundly undemocratic filibuster for nominations. I only hope some misguided Republicans (Senator McCain, are you listening?) do not seek a “compromise,” such as letting Judge Gorsuch be confirmed in exchange for agreeing to keep the filibuster for any future Supreme Court nominations. That would be an enormous gift to the Democrats in return for absolutely nothing. Indeed, less than nothing if the next justice to retire is a liberal, which is likely. It would be a naked betrayal of the Republican Party.
13
Shares
Google+ Print

Ending the Filibuster for Nominations

Must-Reads from Magazine

Trump Quietly Gives Putin What He Wants

Quid pro quo?

Until now, the notion that Donald Trump was providing Russia and Vladimir Putin with concessions at the expense of U.S. interests was poorly supported. That all changed on Wednesday afternoon when the Washington Post revealed that Donald Trump ordered his national security advisor and CIA director to scrap a program that provided covert aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

27
Shares
Google+ Print

Voters in the Age of Affect

Is it Trump's posture, or is it simpler than that?

Though it enjoys a level of political dominance unseen since the 1920s, the Republican Party’s agenda is stalled. Yet, despite their failure to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Republicans are damned like Sisyphus to keep trying. Republican office holders must now administer health care’s taxes and subsidies, and the rest of the GOP agenda cannot advance without freeing up the revenue dedicated to the administration of ObamaCare. A dysfunctional, one-party Congress led by an unpopular neophyte in the Oval Office should precipitate a backlash among voters. But that outcome is far from certain. Ubiquitous surveys and studies dedicated to uncovering the mystery that is the curious and contradictory Trump voter suggests that this may indeed be a new political epoch.

11
Shares
Google+ Print

Iran’s Newest Hostage is Different

An escalation.

On July 16, 2017, Iranian Judiciary spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi announced that Iran had sentenced an American to ten years in prison for alleged espionage. An Iranian judiciary website subsequently identified the American as 37-year-old, China-born Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University Ph.D. student in history.

18
Shares
Google+ Print

Trump’s Naïveté on Display in Syria

The hen house is secured.

Eric Edelman–a former undersecretary of defense in the Bush administration, an aide to Vice President Cheney, and one of the most respected foreign policy hands in Washington–wrote that the July 7 meeting in Hamburg between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was the most disastrous superpower summit since John F. Kennedy met Nikita Khrushchev in 1961. That Cold War-era summit emboldened the Soviets to put up the Berlin Wall and send missiles to Cuba, thus bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war. It’s a harsh judgment, but its essential accuracy is being confirmed by what we have learned since July 7.

39
Shares
Google+ Print

The ‘Intersectionality’ Trap

No more Sister Souljah moments.

Republicans didn’t always scoff dismissively at the self-destructive, reactionary, fractious collection of malcontents who call themselves The Resistance. The hundreds of thousands who marched in the streets following Donald Trump’s election once honestly unnerved the GOP. This grassroots energy culminated in January’s Women’s March, a multi-day event in which nearly two million people mobilized peacefully and, most importantly, sympathetically in opposition to the president. It was the perfect antidote to the violent anti-Trump demonstrations that typified Inauguration Day, and it might have formed the nucleus of a politically potent movement. The fall of the Women’s March exposes the blight weakening the left and crippling the Democratic Party.

79
Shares
Google+ Print