Monday, March 03, 2003
An interesting idea...: but I don't think it'll fly. One of the "Top 10" Letters to the Weekly Standard's online edition (#4), suggests that the Senate's filibuster of Miguel Estrada may be unconstitutional.
The filibuster rule (part of Congress's Constitutional right to organize) prevents Congress from carrying out its Constitutional mandate to advise and consent (Terry Eastland, Filibustering Miguel).
Is it not reasonable to assume Congress cannot establish rules that prevent it from carrying out its duty to advice and consent? Therefore, filibuster of judicial nominee is unconstitutional and Republican leadership should seek court relief. After all, the Senate was not able to filibuster impeachment, so some Senate functions can't be filibustered.
It's an interesting theory, but don't bet on any court touching this with a 10-foot pole -- the judiciary probably very reluctant (and rightly so) to meddle with the rules by which the Senate plays.
I will say that the Democrats in the Senate have raised the bar on judicial appointments to such a level that they can bet it will eventually bite them in the butt. I'm confident that someday we'll have another Democrat in the White House (it'll probably be a long time), but when it happens -- good luck getting any talented liberal judges on the courts.
One of the
excuses complaints that many Democratic senators are hanging their hats on with regard to Estrada's nomination is that he hasn't answered questions from the committee. Well, the only questions he hasn't answered are the ones that judicial nominees are supposed to decline. Pejman Pundit has a collection of quotes that should be quite enlightening on the subject.
Oh, and while I'm talking about Estrada and the filibuster -- if Republicans are serious about stopping this filibuster, they need to go back to the kind of filibuster made famous in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." This garbage where they discuss other business and go home at the close of business each day is ridiculous -- and it merits nary a peep from the major media outlets. If you want to get the attention of the American people to what the Democrats are doing -- make the filibuster real. Watch CSPAN-2's ratings begin to rival those of MSNBC. As long as this goes on under the radar, it's to the Democrats' advantage.