May 20, 2005
Whatever side of the argument over the constitutionality of filibustering the nomination of judges you take...Here's the problem. Both sides in the Senate battle have been working overtime to cloak themselves in the Constitution and it sickens me.
The Republican's are making the equivalent of a Constitutional Newsweek argument. There are numerous places in the Constitution that call for a super-majority, but it is not called for in the advise and consent of judicial appointments. Therefore the Constitution clearly calls for an automatic up or down vote. This sounds a lot like Newsweek saying they showed the Koran flushing story to one official who objected to one part but offered no comment on the toilet portion of the story, therefore we assumed it was accurate.
It also reeks of the very Constitution is a “living document” kind of bullshit that they so despise in “liberal activist judges.” We are told that the reason the currently filibustered nominees were put forward in the first place is that they wouldn't engage in precisely this kind of nonsense.
The bottom line is that Constitution doesn't specify what constitutes advise and consent and that it should be read that how they achieve that is covered under the language that gives the senate authority to set their own rules.
The Republicans want to approve judges who will decide cases they way they want them to be decided. Conservatively. They want their people on the bench if not to advance their agenda then at least to thwart the other side's. Their motivation is purely partisan and ideological, and there is nothing wrong with that. What stinks is when they attempt to wrap their political motives in the Constitution. It rings hollow and it cheapens the document.
The Democrats are essentially no different. They want to prevent Bush's nominees from making it to the bench for purely political reasons. They are blocking nominees not based on their qualifications but by what they have called their “judicial philosophy.” Their politics. The bottom line is they don't want the other side to appoint judges that will not decide cases liberally. It is purely political and partisan. Yet they proclaim they are doing it in the name of preserving the check and balance of the Constitution. That too is bullshit. And their use of the Constitution as a rhetorical cloak also cheapens the document.
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