Wednesday, May 18, 2005

You've heard the talk about the nuclear option?

UPDATE: I've anchored this post at the top of the page since it is giving a background to the posts that follow it, after we see how things play out, I will let it move down the page. If you've already read this post, please check below for newer posts.

Basically, Bush renominated 5 very conservative Appeals and District court judges that the Dems filibustered last session. They passed in committee and now they are being debated on the floor.

After the standard debate time of 50 hours (they're working on two nominees right now so it'll be 100), Frist will call for a vote of cloture. When the Dems attempt to filibuster, he's going to claim that the filibustering of nominees is unconstitutional as Senate has the right to 'advise and consent'. He's claiming this means that each candidate needs a vote as per the constitution.

Cheney will make a motion as President of the Senate that this is correct and then there will be a vote as to the Constitutionality of the filibuster. Simple majority wins, so the Dems need to get 6 GOP Sens to vote against it. Currently, the count is at 8 or 9 that may vote with the Dems, I think that McCain and Chafee are the only ones on record that they'll vote against, but McCain sounds like he's backtracking.

If the rule is found unconstitutional, then a simple majority will be able to place any nominee. Traditionally, rule changes require a 2/3 majority, but this is a move to work around it. If the change occurs, the Dems are threatening to slow or halt all unnecessary legislation by taking advantage of their right to each speak an hour before each vote. Every minor bill will therefore have to sit on the floor of the Senate for at least 22 hours, grinding things to a halt.

While this will supposedly only apply to judicial nominees, who's to say it stops there (a la Lakoff's 'Right Wing Power Grab'). This will essentially turn the Senate into the House of Representatives where a simple majority will rule.

The debate over the two nominees (two women, one black - look how inclusive the GOP is!!!) started today and there is going to be a lot of angry rhetoric before the moment of truth comes next Tuesday or Wednesday - check out CSPAN when you have some time, it's pretty fascinating.

Bottom line, Frist is taking his marching orders from James Dobson of Focus on the Family on this one, with the implicit understanding that this will ensure him the fundamentalist vote when he runs for Prez in 08.


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