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March 15, 2005
It's Time For Action, Senator McConnell

Hugh Hewitt links to a Boston Globe article on the debate over filibustering judicial nominations which reports that Senator Mitch McConnell may not have much enthusiasm for a rule change which would eliminate them. Called interchangeably the "nuclear" or "Constitutional" option, the rule change could pass on a straight majority vote and end the recent practice of Democrats to block floor votes on judicial nominations.

I understand that the majority whip may not want to create more trouble than already exists in the Senate, but the antics of the Democrats in this session already demonstrate their intransigence. First Senator Harry Reid allowed Barbara Boxer to hijack the Electoral College vote to grandstand about non-existent voter fraud in Ohio, which the Democrats lost by over a hundred thousand votes in 2004 while winning Wisconsin with less than a tenth of that and real voter fraud in their powerbase of Milwaukee. Then the Democrats turned the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State into a name-calling debacle, demanding a masturbatory debate where intellectual luminaries such as Brave Sir Dayton from my state could pontificate on Rice's honesty.

Reid has threatened to bring the Senate to a halt if the GOP passes the rule change by demanding full readings of every bill and forcing votes on every item of business. This is what the Republicans fear? Gingrich wanted to teach the Democrats a lesson by shutting down government, too, and look where it got him. So far, the Reid-led Democrats have acted like whiners and spoiled children for his entire tenure, and after a month or so of this, the Democrats will either tire themselves out or their constituents. They're already the Party of No, and more than a few weeks of that strategy and they may as well pay David Spade to become their mascot.

The rule change will put grown-ups back in charge of Senate business and ensure votes for all judicial nominees. It will still allow for filibusters on bills and policy, where it has some application, but judicial nominees deserve respect and an up-or-down vote once they come out of committee. If Democrats want to influence that process, then they need to start winning more elections, and acting like crybabies on the floor of the Senate will not help them at all.

Call the bluff and call the vote, Senator.

UPDATE: McConnell says that the Globe article got it wrong, and issued this statement today:

"The Presidents judicial nominations deserve a simple up or down vote. For more than 200 years, that simple proposition has been recognized as one of the ways the Constitution balances power among our three branches of government. Even if one strongly disagrees with a nomination, the proper course of action is not to obstruct a potential judge through the filibuster but to vote against him or her. Unfortunately, this obstruction necessitates that we restore these norms and traditions, and that includes through the use of the so-called "constitutional" option.

"If our Democratic colleagues make good on their threat to shut down the government, they place at risk funding for child care, education, highway projects, an energy bill and other important programs that impact the lives of every American. I urge them not to shut down the government."

Good. Let's get on with it, then. (via CQ reader Harold H)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 15, 2005 12:58 PM

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