It’s a sad day. Miguel Estrada threw in the towel and withdrew his candidacy for a spot on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. So the Democrats’ filibuster strategy has been vindicated, and a precedent has been set. It seems reasonable to assume that from now on, Republican judicial nominees will need 60 Senate votes to be confirmed, as opposed to the majority vote required by the Constitution.
Recriminations are ongoing; many observers think the White House did not do enough to support Estrada. I’m not sure this is right. Bush did mention the nomination in a number of speeches, and efforts were made to alert the Hispanic community to what was going on. Still, whatever efforts were made were nowhere near enough. In an environment in which two-thirds of Americans can’t name a single Democratic presidential nominee, it is not realistic to expect the Democrats to pay a political penalty for their obstructionism. The vast majority of voters simply don’t know about it, and of those who do, even fewer care.
DEACON adds: It is a sad day, but it will be less sad if (and it’s a big if) in the future Democratic judicial nominees also need 60 votes to be confirmed.
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