Wednesday, April 13, 2005
It’s not a fillibuster
Senator Barbara Boxer, (D, land of fruits and nuts), is upset that the news media is not covering the Senate debate about debates in the Senate over judges using the time-tested Democrat formula of fear:
called on newspaper editors today to provide more coverage of the so-called “nuclear option” being considered by the Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate, which would eliminate filibusters on judicial appointments, arguing that newspapers have as much to lose as the Democrats do if this traditional minority power is eliminated.
In her statement she conviently forgets to mention that the Senate doesn’t actually debate or fillibuster these things. In the modern Senate to fillibuster simply means a senator doesn’t like something and so they submit a little piece of paper saying they don’t like it and are now “fillibustering” the item. That’s it. No votes are taken, no monumental debates are held, and there are no heroic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” moments. Just a memo that sits in a desk drawer. I repeat, there is no debate, discussion, or anything else going on concerning the topic. Life goes on. Some senator will eventually move for cloture on the “fillibuster”. Then the Senate votes on whether or not the piece of paper in the desk drawer should be destroyed. If 60 of the Senators agree, then the fillibuster is “broken” and a vote taken on the original issue. What’s this amount to is 40 Senators can block any legislation they want to, without debate.
The Democrat actions with the “fillibuster that ain’t” against the judicial nominees are preventing the full Senate from fulfilling its constitutional duties. If Senator Boxer is actually concerned about democracy and freedom and our unique form of representative government that has resulted in the greatest nation this world has ever seen, then she will stop getting her panties in a knot everytime Republicans do something she doesn’t like.
There was a time when the Democrats were in charge of the Senate and decided that there were some things just not worth discussing. So, they made rules. (The Senate is actually run according to a byzantine set of rules that are made at the start of each session, this has nothing to do with the Constitution other than the big C allows it.) What did these enlightened Democrat senators refuse to talk about for decades? Slavery. That’s right, for decades the Democrats would discuss whether or not Blacks are real people, deserving of the freedoms listed in the Declaration of Independence. Now, they don’t want to discuss whether or not people who don’t think like they do, (some who even believe in God), should become judges.
The Constitution specifies that judges (and other appointed offices) must be confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate. The confirmation requires nothing more than a simple majority saying “Yes”. The Democrats are refusing to allow that vote.
Some things never change.