I don’t have much to say about the deal struck by the Senate “moderates” regarding the filibustering of federal judges. My view is well expressed by Noz. The deal has Democrats refraining from filibustering unless there are “extraordinary circumstances,” but effectively lets the Republicans decide which circumtances are extraordinary; that is, it puts that judgment in the hands of those whose judgment motivated Democrats to filibuster in the first place. I would have preferred to let the Republicans change the rules, and made them deal with a public that saw the measure as an unacceptable power grab. I know that I should not have that much confidence in the populace, but I do think such a decision by the GOP would have been something of a last straw. But I might well have been wrong in that.
Democrats seem to be happy that they have the filibuster in their hands for an upcoming fight over Bush’s first Supreme Court nomination. But the Bush people seem confident that this the Dems’ hope is a false friend:
One thing that is clear, he and others said, is that Bush will pick someone with a strong conservative judicial philosophy. And the Bush team is banking on the idea that Democrats cannot filibuster a nominee who is no more conservative than the three appellate nominees they just agreed to let come to a floor vote. “Outside of the president nominating Jack the Ripper, I don’t think there’s the stomach to filibuster,” said Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, formed to support Bush judicial nominees.
A “nominee who is no more conservative than the three…they just agreed to let come to a floor vote.” So Janice Rogers Brown, who seriously believes that any interference by the government with the workings of a laissez-faire economy is unconstitutional, is to set the benchmark by which only a more conservative judge can be acceptably filibustered according to the recent agreement. Great deal. Though I did read somewhere (where?) that there may be reason to think at least one of the judges accorded a vote by the agreement will not be confirmed, owing to “No” votes cast by some Republican signatories. Hopefully that will be Brown, but my hunch is that the political salience of the state v. religion issue will make a “No” vote for Priscilla Owen more likely from non-theocon Republicans. I hope I’m wrong.
And speaking of free markets, am I the only one to dectect a hint of indelicacy in the name of the latest mass military operation in Iraq, Operation New Market?