Robert Novak says that Republican Senators are finally, and apprently reluctantly, planning a strategy to counter the Democrats’ filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominees.
The three-part plan outlined by Novak, which he attributes to Majority Leader Bill Frist, doesn’t seem particularly aggressive to me. It begins by seeking cloture votes on a number of nominees. The important point, if I understand the procedure correctly, is that the Democrats be required to actually filibuster, as Southern Senators did during the Civil Rights era, rather than permitting them to carry out a “constructive” filibuster. The only solution to the problem is political, and the only way that the broad public (as opposed to Republican activists) will become intersested in the issue is if they are treated to the spectacle of Democrats reading from phone books, etc., around the clock, bringing Senate business to a halt. If for some reason this can’t be accomplished, it’s hard to see where the necessary political pressure will come from.
Most surprising to me is Novak’s claim that: “Many GOP senators, mirroring their business supporters, would like to concede Kennedy’s triumph on judges and get on with their own agenda.” I am mystified as to what agenda is more important than ceding control of the judiciary to the far left for the foreseeable future, and I would hope that business leaders recognize the significance of the issue.
Novak concludes: “Whether or not Frist’s offensive eventually places any of these well-qualified judges on the bench, it will sound a stentorian refusal to surrender. That means a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Senate have not acquiesced in letting Ted Kennedy determine the membership of the federal judiciary.” I should hope not.
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