Captain's Quarters Blog

« Rassmussen: 57% Support Byrd Option | Main | Deconstructing The Deal »

May 23, 2005
Deal Reached? (Live Blog)

News services are reporting that a centrist group of 12 Senators has reached a compromise on judicial confirmations:

Centrists from both parties reached a compromise Monday night to avoid a showdown on President Bush's stalled judicial nominees and the Senate's own filibuster rules, officials from both parties said.

These officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the agreement would clear the way for yes-or-no votes on some of Bush's nominees, but make no guarantee.

Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush's future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in "extraordinary circumstances."

For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.

Under the agreement, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, nominated to a seat on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, would advance to a final confirmation vote.

If the Republicans have foresworn the Byrd option without an ironclad guarantee that the filibuster will not be used on nominees with majority support, then they have traded their hard-won majority for de facto minority status -- and the leadership will have to answer for this result. Let's see what the exact wording of the agreement will be. More later as it develops.

UPDATE: Coming into the middle of the press conference ... so far all I'm hearing is general rhetoric. "Good faith, mutual respect, and trust." Ooooo-kaaaaay. What are the particulars?

Michelle Malkin caught it from the beginning and says that Brown, Myers, and Owen will get their votes, although I think she means Pryor instead of Myers. Saad and Myers -- tossed under the bus.

Graham: "I changed my vote because we're at war and kids are dying." Strictly speaking, the kids swore to protect and defend the Constitution, while it sounds like these centrists just sold it out.

Fox News won't break away from the O'Reilly Factor? ...

So far, no one really has the agreement, but from what I've seen on television up to now, the GOP only got votes for 3 nominees and the Democrats still get to keep the judicial filibuster "under extraordinary circumstances." This is the exact scenario that I foresaw when I heard that the centrists were gathering in the smoke-filled room. They coughed up the Constitution and got guaranteed votes on less than half of their nominees.

Reid: "This is a significant victory for our country..." No, it's a significant victory for Reid. He just smoked Frist, and now he's using that hard-won "comity" to blast Bush and Cheney for power grabbing and perverting the Constitution. Yeah, great going, GOP.

Reid: Filibusters will continue on Saad and Myers.

Frist: Deal will require "careful monitoring". For what? You just gave away the store!

Frist is continuing to spin this into a win for the nominees, but it's not going to fly. The Democrats blocked at least two of the nominees and made no substantive guarantees to stop their obstructionism. He did say that "All options remain on the table, including the Constitutional option," but the momentum has clearly been brought to a halt.

This, in short, has been a clear victory for the Democrats and a massive failure for the GOP and the White House. The GOP just endorsed the filibuster, and will have no intellectual capacity to argue against its use later on. They sold the Constitution just to get less than half of its blockaded nominees through, and the result will be much less flexibility on future Supreme Court nominations.

Schumer: It's the White House's fault for not consulting with the Senate before making his nominations, like Clinton, Bush, and Reagan. Er, Chuck ... does the name Robert Bork ring a bell??

UPDATE: The Gang of Seven for the Republicans: McCain, Warner, Graham, Chaffee, Collins, Snowe, and DeWine. You can add Bill Frist to that list, for stalling this debate until the momentum from the previous election had dissipated.

The text of the agreement:

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS We respect the diligent, conscientious efforts, to date, rendered to the Senate by Majority Leader Frist and Democratic Leader Reid. This memorandum confirms an understanding among the signatories, based upon mutual trust and confidence, related to pending and future judicial nominations in the 109th Congress.

This memorandum is in two parts. Part I relates to the currently pending judicial nominees; Part II relates to subsequent individual nominations to be made by the President and to be acted upon by the Senates Judiciary Committee.

We have agreed to the following:

Part I: Commitments on Pending Judicial Nominations

A. Votes for Certain Nominees. We will vote to invoke cloture on the following judicial nominees: Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Circuit), William Pryor (11th Circuit), and Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit).

B. Status of Other Nominees. Signatories make no commitment to vote for or against cloture on the following judicial nominees: William Myers (9th Circuit) and Henry Saad (6th Circuit).

Part II: Commitments for Future Nominations

A. Future Nominations. Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.

B. Rules Changes. In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress, which we understand to be any amendment to or interpretation of the Rules of the Senate that would force a vote on a judicial nomination by means other than unanimous consent or Rule XXII.

We believe that, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word Advice speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the Presidents power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.

Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.

We firmly believe this agreement is consistent with the traditions of the United States Senate that we as Senators seek to uphold.

UPDATE II: DeWine, not Specter. I made the adjustment above.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 23, 2005 6:44 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Deal Reached? (Live Blog):

» GOP Caves on Filibuster? from Sierra Faith
Seems so. Captain Ed has more patience than I, but notes there will be consequences if the GOP decides to hand over majority rule to the minority. Michelle Malkin captures McCain stating that Judges Myer and Saad may be sacrificed. Kathryn Lop... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:02 PM

» John McCain (RINO) Creates New Ruling Minority from The ConservaBlog
In keeping with the best traditions of the ruling minority, 14 senators have decided that they can now do the choosing of the President's judicial nominees. They and they alone have the foresight to tell the President just who he may appoint to the ben... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:10 PM

Is the Senate Going all night Cots were brought into the Capitol Monday as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist scheduled an all-night session stretching into Tuesday to dramatize the debate over President Bush’s judicial nominees and the filibuste... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:14 PM

» Thanks, Johnny!!!! from Another Rovian Conspiracy - St Wendeler
Byrd (D-KKK) and Warner (R-VA) want to set up a panel to make recommendations to the President on who they would like him to appoint. Where in the words "advise and consent" do Warner and Byrd see the words "appoint for the President." you want to ta... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:20 PM

» EXTRA! GOP has Majority...and spines of Jelly. JELLY. from The Anchoress
It's gonna be a long cold day before the GNP sees a dime of my money. A long. Cold. Day. Can someone please explain to me why, with 57% support from the nation (under-reported, of course), the GOP caved on this? You'll just want to go to bench... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:35 PM

» Uh-Oh.... from Hard Starboard
Drudge and Fox are announcing that the RINOs have struck. Details to come, but this can't be good. UPDATE 4:54PM PDT: We get cloture on Brown, Owen, and Pryor; don't know about the others. They get the "filibuster in extraordinary circumstances... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:36 PM

» Senators Sell Out on Filibusters from HCS and Gen's Pad
Let's see how long it takes the Dems to break this one. *UPDATE* Frist sold out. The spineless wonder continues. McCain proves the tritor to the republicrats he is. More links and comments to come. [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:47 PM

» A Compromise On Filibusters from Joust The Facts
Live Blogging the press conference, with Sen. McCain at the mike.:The 7 R's and 7 D's have reached an agreement, with the approval of Sen. Reid and Sen Frist. [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 7:50 PM

» No "Nuclear Option". Filibusters to Continue Apace. from The Sundries Shack
Some US Senators have reached an agreement to prevent the so-called "nuclear option" and to prevent filibusters on judicial nominations except in "extraordinary circumstances". Here is the gist of the agreement. Nominees Rogers-Brown, Pryor, and... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 8:00 PM

» RINOs Sells out the Constitution - Again from Savage Republican
John McCain continues his attack on the Constitution in order to keep his membership at the NY Press Club. [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 8:13 PM

» Filibuster Compromise? from La Shawn Barber's Corner
I haven't been following the news today. What is the filibuster compromise? Irate bloggers: Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters (live-blogging)...... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 8:16 PM

» Surges of Anger from Elective Application
Sen. Frist, if you were born with a pair, use them. Call their bluff. If not, sit your ass down and let a Republican without a yellow streak take the chair. [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 8:21 PM

» Republicans Engineer Defeat from Slublog
A deal was reached on judicial nominees, and it's terrible. The Democrats retain the right to filibuster judicial nominees and in exchange the Republicans get the "right" to an up-or-down vote on most of the nominees. Senator Frist, you have... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 9:01 PM

» Bill Frist: Peace In Our Time from Bogus Gold
Hard to get specifics at the moment, but it sounds like Frist couldn't get enough Republican Senators to support the position he's been working at for several months. It also sounds like he caved in to Reid's previous offer without qualification, agree... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 9:06 PM

» Weenees! from The Cranky Calvinist
Oh, fer cryin' out loud. The timid line in the sand drawn by the quivering mound of mallow cream, Sen. Frist, has been crossed and recrossed and crossed again. A "compromise" of sorts was reached by a centrist group of senators regarding the so-calle... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 9:16 PM

» GOP Senators Just Bought Bridge in Brooklyn from OKIE on the LAM™ - In LA
There are bad deals, and there are stupid deals, and then there are really incredibly-stupid, outrageously-bad deals, and then there is the deal that went down in the U.S. Senate today, which dwarfs them all in badness and stupidity! It's incredible... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 9:19 PM

» Repbulican Party Sell out from Rod's Ramblings
No more. That is all I have to say. Tonight the Republican party sold it's soul to look good on Television. John McCain is a Democrat to me. He, nor any member of this Senate body should ever be allowed... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 9:25 PM

» CHUMPS! from New England Republican
One word....CHUMPS! That is what the GOP must think of us after accepting this so-called "compromise" on judicial filibusters. Well I have a few words for them, most of which wouldn't belong on a family friendly site like this. For now I'll just p... [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2005 9:48 PM

» Predictions from The Common Room
UPDATE: The girls are trying to work out a math problem and I keep interrupting them to sputter about this selling out of the majority position to the minority. I am given to understand that I have just made Equuschick do the wrong problem. There's an ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 24, 2005 1:06 AM

» What is the MSM saying about Blogs; The Beginning of the End from Scared Monkeys
Blogs have revolutionized the way we inform ourselves in gaining the news. Gone are the liberal media filters that express an agenda and bias rather than reporting the facts. Of course there are those on the left that claim the opposite is occurring. I... [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2005 6:14 PM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!