Monday, May 23, 2005

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.


At 8:08 AM, Blogger LargeBill said...

How is it sanity prevailing when 14 senators decide which nominees get voted on but it is inappropriate for 55 senators. This whole situation is the result of people not understanding basic math. 55 is a larger number than 45 and much larger than 14.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

That's the nature any voting body. If no group has a majority, then the final result will depend on some kind of compromise. No one here had a majority here since, apparently, only 48 Republicans preferred the nuclear option over a compromise.

As for sanity, the only reason you saw 14 Senators turn against the stated interests of their respective parties was because both parties had treaded too far into the deep waters of paritisan nonsense. If the parties had acted with sanity from the outset, there would have been no need for this deal.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous R. L. Schoenwals said...


As I understand it, the Democrats now have the PERMISSION of the majority to filibuster any judicial nomination WHOSE CIRCUMSTANCES THE MAJORITY AGREES ARE “EXTRAORDINARY”: we don’t know what “extraordinary” circumstances are, but the three worst nominees (including the one even AG Gonzales deems “unconscionably activist”) don’t meet the test(???).

So We, The People, will be saddled with this crew of judicial non-entities for the rest of their natural lives, together with any other collection of clowns the American Taliban wing of the Republican party chooses to foist upon us.

Thus the time-honored tradition of unlimited debate in the US Senate, inviolable for lo these 214 years, and a decent respect for the minority have been preserved--for just as long as the President and Dr. Frist desire, and not an instant more. What Lieberman, McCain, et al believe is a fig leaf to cover Democratic impotence is in reality poison ivy!

It would seem that the idea of standing on a principle, win, lose or draw, has no place in our most deliberative body.

And for those of you who were terrified at the prospect of shutting down the Senate, remember what happened the last time they did this: nothing. And with this crew, nothing is the best outcome. This is no longer the rule of law, but the law of the ruler.

America was NOT supposed to be a democracy: the majority is NOT supposed to get its way. Efficiency is NOT a goal of our governmental organization-quite the contrary-and if you don't believe me, check the writings of our Founding Fathers.


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