Thursday, May 19, 2005

No Nukes

On the filibuster scene, the Dems have gone blue in the face condemning the Repubs for wanting to break with an august Senate tradition. I have a simple solution. If they're really truly unhappy with the Republicans lowering the standard for stopping debate, when they're back in the majority they can restore the old rules.

Meanwhile, Kausfiles promotes an interesting theory on the nuclear option--it ain't gonna happen. Both sides are playing chicken and one side will back down. If the Repubs don't have the numbers to break a filibuster, they won't vote on it. More interestingly, if the Dems are worried they'll lose on the nuclear option vote, they simply won't filibuster and will let the Senate vote on the (formerly controversial) candidate; they won't force a vote on filibusters until necessary, i.e., for a Supreme Court slot. In that case, they can focus their attention and the voters' attention, and make it about the nominee, not the procedure.

Personally, I question this wisdom. I think the Repubs have the votes (I have sources, and now we'll see how reliable they are) and I don't think the Dems have the patience to swallow over and over, biding their time. Yet, it makes at least nominal sense. If the Dems can manage not to lose on the nuclear option, at least not for a while, when the Repubs are raring to go, I'd rate that at least a minor victory for them. (And a few conservative judges in the lower courts just don't rank next to who runs the high court.)


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