Filibuster

McConnell to finish what Schumer started

Featured image Josh Holmes fills in the history leading to the imminent confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in the Politico Magazine column “McConnell is finishing what Schumer started.” Holmes’s column traces the judicial filibuster wars to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and pays tribute to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in playing his “long game” leading to what should be a happy ending tomorrow. This story has been out »

Klobuchar kludge meets the Gorsuch filibuster

Featured image Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar specializes in avoiding outspoken stands on important issues. She looks for opportunities to lead the way on trivialities calculated to garner broad public support, such as her crusade against the threat to life and limb posed by “The crisis of the detergent pod.” Senator Klobuchar is a reliable vote for the Democratic Party line, but she is quiet about it. She doesn’t want to upset anybody. »

Showdown on Mount Gorsuch

Featured image This past Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that Judge Gorsuch would be confirmed to the Supreme Court this week. If put to a straight up or down vote, as he will be, Judge Gorsuch would win a majority for his confirmation. If Democrats rally 41 votes to support a filibuster — Senator McConnell didn’t expressly say, but it was implicit in his vow — Republicans would be put »

Not So Cool Hand Chuck

Featured image Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on both FOX News Sunday and Meet the Press yesterday, mostly to address the prospective confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Senator McConnell spoke “with the calm confidence of a Christian holding four aces” (to borrow Walter Blair’s misquotation of Mark Twain). He vowed that Judge Gorsuch would be confirmed and that Democrats would dictate the manner of his confirmation. McConnell noted »

The madness (or not) of the Dems

Featured image This past Thursday morning the Kansas City Star obtained audio of Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill “warn[ing] Democratic donors that blocking President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could have dire consequences.” The Star’s Brian Lowry posted the audio (below, I hope) along with his article reporting on it. Articulating the kind of rational calculation I set out in “Will the Dems die on Mount Gorsuch?,” McCaskill told her supporters: “I’m »

Filibustering out

Featured image It’s almost funny to hear Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seek to convert the Democrats’ filibuster of a vote on Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court into a matter of high principle. Almost. Even if it’s not funny, however, he should be laughed off the stage. The filibuster is a fertile source of partisan hypocrisy. It’s time to finish it off, at least with respect to the Supreme Court. »

Bring Back the Filibuster!

Featured image George Will beat me to my idea for today’s Thought of the Morning with a column about the Senate filibuster based on a recent talk by Rep. Tom McClintock, who argued in Hillsdale’s Imprimis that what we should do is go back to the old way of doing filibusters. With all of the talk of ending the filibuster, at least for Supreme Court nominees, maybe we should instead talk of »

Will Dems die on Mount Gorsuch?

Featured image I have been skeptical that the Democrats will force Republicans to invoke the Reid rule to end the filibuster of Supreme Court nominees as as the price of confirming Judge Gorsuch. I’m out of the prediction business, but every day it looks more probable that the Democrats may just do it. Late yesterday afternoon, for example, Elana Schor reported that “Gorsuch needs a straight flush to beat filibuster.” From the »

Will Democrat Senators Follow Their Base Over the Cliff?

Featured image The Democrats’ riled-up base is demanding that the party’s senators do everything they can to block the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court: Liberal groups that oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court are telling Democratic senators to oppose him, or face the consequences. The groups on Thursday formed “The People’s Defense,” billed as a massive grassroots campaign to defeat Gorsuch’s nomination in the Republican-controlled Senate. »

THE JUDICIAL FILIBUSTER AND THE FALLACY OF “UNILATERAL DISARMAMENT”

Featured image Politico reports what’s been pretty clear for weeks — Republicans are unlikely to reverse Harry Reid’s elimination of the filibuster of presidential nominees. My preference was to reinstate the filibuster for the reasons I presented here. However, I understand the arguments for keeping it, and consider the issue a close call. What bothers me is the mantra that reinstating the filibuster would amount to “unilateral disarmament” by Republicans. It’s an »

Should Republicans reinstate the judicial filibuster?

Featured image With Republicans about to assume control of the Senate, a debate has broken out over whether to bring back the filibuster for judicial nominees. Readers will recall that Harry Reid and his crew eliminated the filibuster (except for Supreme Court nominees) in order, primarily, to confirm three left-wing nominees for the all-important U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The estimable Ed Whelan argues that it would »

Filibuster Rope-a-Dope?

Featured image Did the crafty Mitch McConnell just succeed in getting Democrats to damage their long-term interest by nuking the filibuster?  I’ve always defended the filibuster (and still do) as a valid anti-majoritarian device, especially useful for when fitful voters make a mistake as they did in 2008 (with the help of the Justice Department in Alaska and Al Franken’s cheating in Minnesota) and install a large Democratic majority in the Senate. »

The very useful lesson of Obama’s judicial power grab

Featured image It’s no secret that President Obama was behind the push to end the filibuster as a means of blocking nominees for U.S. appeals court judgeships. At a fundraiser earlier this month, he told liberal donors that he is “remaking the courts.” Recognizing that the filibuster stood in the way of a full radical makeover, Obama personally lobbied three Democratic Senators who were undecided about whether to eliminate it. Obama reportedly »

Byrd! Thou should’st be living at this hour

Featured image The political debate over the use of the Senate’s filibuster rule to torpedo President Bush’s judicial nominees in 2005 triggered a series of reversals and pratfalls that support the low-comedy version of democratic politics. Among the most notable examples was the profile of former Ku Klux Klan kleagle and civil rights obstructionist Robert Byrd as a cornpone constitutionalist by reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg in — where else? — the New »

Up next, attacking the filibuster (Updated)

Featured image With the “fiscal cliff” averted, the Democratic Senate will turn its attention to attacking the filibuster. I wrote about this issue here. As I explained: Republicans alone cannot prevent the Democrats from changing the Senate rules pertaining to the filibuster. In theory they can because under Senate rules any rule change requires a two-thirds majority. However, the Democrats apparently intend to violate that rule by pretending, contrary to what the »