In an earlier post, I analyzed Senator Biden’s latest attempt to set new guideposts for Supreme Court nominees, and effort intended to preclude the confirmation of someone who dislikes the judicial activism Biden prefers. Fortunately, this was merely an academic excerise, since Biden’s views probably are not relevant to the confirmation process.
Biden and his fellow liberal Democrats are relevant only to the extent that they can muster enough votes to avoid cloture when they filibuster, and then muster enough votes (51) to defeat a rule change that would end the filibuster. But in doing the bidding of ultra-liberal special interest group leaders like Nan Aron, Ralph Neas, and Elaine Jones for more than 4 years, Senator Biden and his liberal colleagues have probably lost their ability to accomplish these feats. (For a discussion of the control exercised by these groups, see Mark Levin at NRO, and Michael Barone at Real Clear Politics). The unreasonableness of the special interest group demands with respect to appellate nominees, coupled with Majority Leader Frist’s willingness to play hard ball, placed too much pressure on red state Democrats like Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson, and on Joe Lieberman, a man of principle. Thus, seven Democrats struck a deal in connection with Owen, Brown, Pryor, etc, under which the liberal Democrats lost control. Now, control resides either with the gang of 14 or (if Senator Graham and a few other Republican deal makers were speaking accurately about what they will do if the Democrats in the gang act unreasonbly) with that small group of Republican Senators within the gang.
Accordingly, if Lindsey Graham or Mike DeWine writes an op-ed piece about the type of person the president should nominate, we will want to take it seriously. If Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson writes one, we should at least mull it over. But anything the likes of Joe Biden or Ted Kennedy contributes is basically blog-fodder. And don’t expect Senators Graham or DeWine to proclaim that the president must nominate a philosophically “impartial” individual.
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