Monday, November 16, 2009

Adventures in Spin

Via Benen, the NYT actually asked Jeff Sessions why it was a violation of the Constitution for Democrats to filibuster against Republican judicial nominations, but A-OK for Republicans to filibuster Obama's choices:

Like many Republicans, Mr. Sessions strongly opposed Democrats’ use of filibusters to block confirmation votes on several of former President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees, saying that the Constitution requires only a majority vote – not the 60 votes required to stop a filibuster – to approve judges.

But, Mr. Sessions told reporters on Monday, that principle no longer applies because Democrats altered the Senate’s traditions during the Bush administration.

“I think the rules have changed,” Mr. Sessions said.

Under the new rules, Mr. Sessions said, most of the time if senators do not like a judicial nominee, they should merely vote against confirming the nominee. But if senators think that a nominee presents “extraordinary circumstances,” then it is acceptable for them to try to block a confirmation vote.

"Extraordinary circumstances," in case anyone is wondering, basically comes down to "because I feel like it."

I happen to be with the Sessions (current) position: I see absolutely no reason to believe that there's a specific Constitutional problem with filibusters on judicial nominees. In fact, I think he's right that Senators should generally vote against anyone they oppose for the bench, including on ideological or partisan grounds, and should save filibusters for those they strongly oppose.

Granted, I don't think for a second that Sessions actually believes any of it. And it really is a pathetic attempt at spin. After all, Sessions didn't just say it was undemocratic or wrong or against Senate rules to filibuster judicial nominees; he said it was unconstitutional. Surely changes in Senate traditions couldn't possibly override the Constitution of the United States! Is that what Sessions is suggesting? Now, there's your Living Constitution.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?