Patterico's Pontifications

5/29/2006

Republicans Caving on Judicial Nominees, Thanks to Gang of 14 Deal

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:53 am

Don’t let the confirmation of Kavanaugh fool you into thinking that all is hunky-dory on the judicial confirmation front. A recent Bloomberg story suggests that Republicans plan to cave on all the other controversial nominees:

The U.S. Senate, on the brink of gridlock over judicial nominations a year ago, is finessing a showdown over President George W. Bush’s most divisive choices for the federal bench.

Senators of both parties, preoccupied with other issues, are displaying little appetite for an all-out battle. Democrats, who are reluctant to oppose nominees for purely ideological reasons, won’t try to block White House aide Brett Kavanaugh, 41, who is scheduled to be confirmed to an appeals court judgeship today. Republicans, in turn, probably will put aside two other controversial nominees, Terrence Boyle and William Haynes II.

Link via Jonathan Adler, who says: “If true, this is bad news for Boyle (not to mention Haynes, Wallace, and Myers).” He’s right. From the article:

“We will take the others one by one,” Frist told reporters this week. He said he had no plans to bring up Boyle and didn’t respond when asked whether he would seek a vote on Haynes.

. . . .

Potential casualties [also] include William G. Myers III, 40, a mining and ranching lobbyist named to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and Michael B. Wallace, 55, a Jackson, Mississippi, lawyer nominated to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.

. . . .

Myers was left in limbo when the agreement by the Gang of 14 permitted votes on three of 10 nominees who had been blocked.

It’s hard to imagine why Republicans would be so skittish about a fight on these judges. Don’t they still control the Senate?

Yeah, in theory. But there’s this little thing called the “filibuster” that we had the chance to knock out, but didn’t.

But didn’t that Gang of 14 capitulation deal bring us Alito and Roberts?

No. As I have said before, they would have been confirmed anyway. And if we had deployed the nuclear option, we would have gotten all the judges we already got — plus Estrada, Kuhl, Saad, and the judges who look like they are getting thrown under the bus now.

Remember: fight John McCain, wherever you find him.

P.S. Meanwhile, Adler notes, the Administration isn’t bothering to nominate anyone new. Not that any new controversial nominee has a prayer of ever being confirmed, thanks to the Gang of 14 Weasels.

P.P.S. Confirm Them has a suggestion for a good candidate for the President to nominate: Solicitor General Paul Clement. He could be replaced by Miguel Estrada — that is, if Estrada would take the position, after the unnecessary hell he was subjected to by Retaliacrats.

13 Responses to “Republicans Caving on Judicial Nominees, Thanks to Gang of 14 Deal”

  1. I suspect that, when the day comes that Republicans are not a majority in the Senate, you will be glad the filibuster still exists.

    aphrael (6b0647)

  2. What you mean is, the day that a Democrat is in the White House. The filibuster still would exist for all but judicial appointments if the nuclear option were deployed. A filibuster for judicial appointments would not be needed as long as a Republican is in the White House.

    But you’re wrong. I think presidential elections have consequences. One of them is that the president gets to choose his judicial nominees.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  3. But you’re wrong. I think presidential elections have consequences. One of them is that the president gets to choose his judicial nominees.

    That happens with or without the gang of 14. HE can choose away.

    actus (6234ee)

  4. Don’t they still control the Senate?

    That’s a … rhetorical question, right?

    [Yeah . . . that’s why I answer it in the affirmative in the next sentence. — P]

    McGehee (5664e1)

  5. The President gets to choose judges with the advice and consent of the Senate. A 90% confirmation rate seems reasonable to me. And so what if Bush would have trouble getting a controversial nominee confirmed, let him nominate some uncontroversial judges like Roberts and Alito.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  6. And, of course, those who voted for Bush expected just the sorts of nominees that puts Democrat knickers in a twist. Ah, for the good ol’ days of nonpartisans (snicker) like Ginsberg.

    sharon (fecb65)

  7. The President gets to choose judges with the advice and consent of the Senate. A 90% confirmation rate seems reasonable to me.

    And lets not forget how well respected his choice of Miers was.

    actus (6234ee)

  8. Harry Reid and most of the Dems appeared to respect Miers well enough, even if they don’t show much to the guy who nominated her. Let’s not forget that.

    And, it was Conservatives who objected to GWB’s nomination of the underqualified crony, and it was Conservatives who refused to go along with the obvious travesty. It was a splendid example of appropriate citizen participation in government.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  9. Patterico: elections do have consequences, absolutely. But the Senate has the institutional power to block Presidential nominations, and if the Senate grants that power to a large minority under the theory that consensus is an important consideration, I don’t have a problem with that. Consensus is an important consideration.

    I will not object if a Republican minority in the Senate blocks leftist judicial candidates; I think their power to do so is a feature of the system. Nor do I object to a Democratic minority in the Senate blocking conservative candidates.

    aphrael (6b0647)

  10. That said, to the extent that I mischaracterized your position, I apologize.

    I suspect that there are many conservatives who want the power to filibuster judicial appointments eliminated as long as their man is President, and who will want that power back as soon as a Democrat is elected to that office. But if you say you are not one of them, I will take you at your word. :)

    aphrael (6b0647)

  11. If the President is a Democrat and the Democrats are a majority in the Senate, there will be no filibuster. A Democrat can be as liberal as Ginsberg and the GOP will not filibuster. Indeed, all but a few Republicans voted to confirm her.

    If there should be an attempted filibuster by a Republican minority of a Democratic judicial nominee who has the support of a majority of Democratic Senators, the so called nuclear option will be promptly invoked.

    Stu707 (18fdc8)

  12. Stu707 – you may be correct as to what would happen, but that doesn’t mean that it would be right for the Democrats to do so.

    aphrael (6b0647)

  13. […] Yesterday, Patterico had a post about the Gang of 14 Deal. I copied some, and herewith paste it: [D]idn’t that Gang of 14 capitulation deal bring us Alito and Roberts? No. As I have said before, they would have been confirmed anyway. And if we had deployed the nuclear option, we would have gotten all the judges we already got — plus Estrada, Kuhl, Saad, and the judges who look like they are getting thrown under the bus now. […]

    Confirm Them » Amusing Headline (b78190)


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