My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Bob Dole On The Filibuster

Remember a couple weeks ago how the left was touting Bob Dole's caution in regards to changing the filibuster rule? How that was eveidence that the GOP had wnadered into uncharted, dangerous territory? Well, Bob Dole has spoken again:

I have publicly urged caution in this matter. Amending the Senate rules over the objection of a substantial minority should be the option of last resort. . .

But let's be honest: By creating a new threshold for the confirmation of judicial nominees, the Democratic minority has abandoned the tradition of mutual self-restraint that has long allowed the Senate to function as an institution.

Oh, really? The Democrats have abandoned tradition? Sen. Dole, can you provide us with any evidence of that?

When I was a leader in the Senate, a judicial filibuster was not part of my procedural playbook. Asking a senator to filibuster a judicial nomination was considered an abrogation of some 200 years of Senate tradition.

To be fair, the Democrats have previously refrained from resorting to the filibuster even when confronted with controversial judicial nominees like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Although these men were treated poorly, they were at least given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. At the time, filibustering their nominations was not considered a legitimate option by my Democratic colleagues - if it had been, Justice Thomas might not be on the Supreme Court today, since his nomination was approved with only 52 votes, eight short of the 60 votes needed to close debate.

That's why the current obstruction effort of the Democratic leadership is so extraordinary.

Well, but Senator, wouldn't changing the rules be unConstitutional?

If the majority leader, Bill Frist, is unable to persuade the Democratic leadership to end its obstruction, he may move to change the Senate rules through majority vote. By doing so, he will be acting in accordance with Article I of the Constitution (which gives Congress the power to set its own rules) and consistently with the tradition of altering these rules by establishing new precedents. Senator Frist was right this past weekend when he observed there is nothing "radical" about a procedural technique that gives senators the opportunity to vote on a nominee. (emphasis mine)

This is still an extraordinary step; shouldn't we be afraid of the precedent of messing around with the rules?

In the coming days, I hope changing the Senate's rules won't be necessary, but Senator Frist will be fully justified in doing so if he believes he has exhausted every effort at compromise. Of course, there is an easier solution to the impasse: Democrats can stop playing their obstruction game and let President Bush's judicial nominees receive what they are entitled to: an up-or-down vote on the floor of the world's greatest deliberative body.

Thank you, Senator Dole.

Bet the MSM doesn't cite him anymore.

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