Posted by Curt on 21 November, 2013 at 2:32 pm. Be the first to comment!



The Senate will return from Easter vacation with nuclear options on its mind. Republicans seem determined to change the rules so Democrats will no longer be able to stop judicial nominations with the threat of a filibuster.


Many of the wisest Republicans are well aware that their leaders are playing a dangerous game and that they are doing it for frivolous reasons. The judicial nominees can easily be replaced. But the sense that there are certain rules that all must play by, whether to their advantage or not, is something that cannot be restored. Senators need only to look at the House to see what politics looks like when the only law is to win at any cost.

The Senate, of all places, should be sensitive to the fact that this large and diverse country has never believed in government by an unrestrained majority rule. Its composition is a repudiation of the very idea that the largest number of votes always wins out. The members from places like Rhode Island, Maine or Iowa know that their constituents are given a far larger say than people from New York simply by virtue of the fact that each state has two votes, regardless of population. Indeed, as a recent New Yorker article pointed out, the Democratic senators who have blocked that handful of judicial nominees actually represent substantially more Americans than the Republican majority that wants to see them passed.

While the filibuster has not traditionally been used to stop judicial confirmations, it seems to us this is a matter in which it’s most important that a large minority of senators has a limited right of veto.

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