Monday, June 25, 2012

Elsewhere: Hardball, Arizona, and Exec Branch Nominations

Three pieces to steer you to today.

James Fallows has sparked plenty of talk by using the word "coup" to talk about the possible decision by the Supremes on ACA. At Greg's place, I talk about Constitutional hardball and why a Broccoli Liberty decision would be problematic, even if it knocks out less than a more sweeping Commerce Clause decision.

Over at PP, I make the case for why the Arizona decision today in particular and SCOTUS decisions in general won't affect the elections in November.

And at Salon, I argue for executive branch nomination reform. Regular readers will have heard this stuff, but it's together in one column: make it a simple majority for cloture on these nominations in the Senate, and dramatically reduce the vetting both at the White House and in Senate committees. Yes, some duds would get through. It's worth the price. Note that I'm okay with holds on exec branch nominations, as long as they're by single Senators or small groups, not entire political parties. How would that work in practice? Judgement call by the Majority Leader -- but if he or she thinks it's a partisan filibuster, then the next step is to go right to a cloture vote.

What my reform agenda doesn't help with is divided partisan control of the White House and the Senate. We may have this one coming up: if Obama is re-elected and the Republicans take the Senate. Would a Republican Senate just decide not to confirm anyone? I don't know; that would be a step more than they've gone in opposition, but it's certainly possible to imagine them collectively, or at least one or more committee chair, taking that step.


  1. Won't things like the Arizona and Obamacare rulings, at the very least, define the contours of the debate and affect the campaign promises that Romney and Obama in order to win? While that doesn't affect the vote count significantly, doesn't that at least constitute affecting the election?

  2. This is unrelated but I remember you've been posting about why liberals aren't pushing candidates to embrace the public option more. I noticed that Daily Kos is starting to roll out their candidate endorsements (mostly house candidates) and on their questionnaire they ask about the public option

  3. If the SC did something radical like throw out the entire ACA, that could have some small effect on increasing turnout among liberals if Obama and other Democrats reacted to the decision strongly. In a election that could be decided by a razor thin margin either nationally or in one or more states in the electoral college, that turnout effect could actually matter.

    Such a decision could also slightly reduce turnout among conservatives since one of their overriding goals is to repeal that law. If the SC does that job for them in June, then there is less motivation for them to go vote in November (I'm not sure I really believe that given how intense and irrational their hatred of Obama is, however).


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