Sanity Prevails, Centrist Senators Reach Filibuster Compromise
Talk about an 11th hour compromise. Fourteen U.S. Senators have announced that they have made a deal to preserve the filibuster while allowing up-or-down votes on three of the five filibustered judicial nominees.
This is a huge win for Centrists and for the rule of reason over partisanship. The Senators who reached the deal include Republicans John McCain (AR), John Warner (VA), Mike DeWine (OH), Susan Collins (ME), Olympia Snowe (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC), Lincoln Chafee (RI), and Democrats Ken Salazar (CO), Ben Nelson (NE), Mary Landrieu (LA), Joseph Lieberman (CT), Mark Pryor (AR), Robert Byrd (WV) and Daniel Inouye (HI).
The three justices that will receive up-or-down votes are Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor. While the two justices that are apparently off the table are Henry Saad and William Myers.
The seven Democratic Senators involved in the deal also promised they would only filibuster future nominees under extraordinary circumstances. What constitutes and extraordinary circumstance will be left up to the individual Senators.
This is pretty much the deal we’ve been hearing about for several weeks. As for the Senators signing on, the only newcomer is Inouye. As for what took so long to reach a compromise, we can only speculate. But nothing pushes an issue like a ticking clock.
These 14 Senators will almost certainly suffer the ire of their parties and particularly the anger of interest groups who’ve been pushing hard to avoid any type of compromise. While not all the Senators signing on can be considered Centrists (Byrd comes to mind), make no mistake that this is a victory for the Center.
We can only hope that we see Centrists from both parties joining forces more often to temper the kind of partisan irrationality that almost sent the Senate into a “nuclear winter.” Even if we don’t, at least we can say right here, today, sanity actually prevailed.
UPDATE: For updates as to what Senators are saying, see Charging RINO. Right now, a number of Senators not involved in the deal are praising the work of those who were. To me, that’s like starting a fire and then thanking the fire department as if you were an innocent bystander. But praise is due. We’ll just see how everyone feels tomorrow when the special interest groups decide how they’ll retaliate.