Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Why the end of the procedural "filibuster" is important

Just so we don't lose sight of what is at stake here - not legislative tyranny, Frist's presidential hopes, or ten appellate judges - The Arizona Republic jogs our memories.

Three points:

First, the newspaper does get it wrong by confusing a cloture vote with an actual filibuster, but then again, all of the journalists seem to be making this mistake with regularity. Not a big point and it probably wasn't done on purpose, but it certainly misleads the public.

Second, I have to disagree with Jonathan Turley, who is quoted in the story and was one of wife's professors at George Washington University School of Law. Turley believes that the rush to have the Senate rule changed is due to the loss of clout by second-term presidents. First, we aren't even to the mid-term elections, so to say that presidents lose clout this early in their second term goes against history (see Reagan in 1985). Second, the rush has everything to do with political timing. If this filibuster issue festers for another month - 7 months after the GOP made it such a major issue in the 2004 elections - the blood of incumbents will flow in the streets next November. Americans have a notoriously short attention span, and it's even shorter when it comes to partisan politics.

Third, the report hints at something of which I have some knowledge. In writing of Thomas as a potential Chief Justice, the report indicates that Thomas does not have an interest. In talking with a few people with access to Justice Thomas several months back, it appears that Thomas has no interest in rising to Chief Justice. And, honestly, why should he? The position is primarily a figurehead with little power, and putting one's self through a questioning on your beliefs and ideologies by the morally-bankrupt likes of Ted Kennedy, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and Dick Durbin could be hard to swallow. The hassle just doesn't seem to outweigh the reward. Let the morally-bankrupt match wits with Scalia or someone like Luttig or Prior.

As I have posted earlier, let's go back the old ways when a filibuster meant something. The Instapundit also has commented at length over at

MORE: Dick Morris is on-board with restoring the real filibuster. Momentum is building!

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