Today's "water cooler" question of the day on WBAL TV 11, the Baltimore NBC station, was, "Do you think the Senate's use of the filibuster to prevent votes on judicial nominations should be banned?" I replied with this:
I do not think that Senate rules should allow the use of filibusters to delay or deny judicial appointments. The Constitution requires the Senate to provide advice and consent to the President on his appointments. Filibusters prevent any action from being taken, thereby obstructing the process. If the minority party opposes a nominee, they should voice this opposition during debate on the appointment, and with their "no" vote. These Senators should also be held accountable to their constituents for their votes. Avoiding a vote also avoids accepting responsibility for taking a position on a nominee.
I think the filibuster is a weasely way out of taking a stand. Instead of getting on the record with a "no" vote, these spineless Senators would rather hide behind party leadership and just avoid the whole thing by a so called filibuster. These same Senators will proclaim that the Bush administration isn't doing enough on crime while they personally refused to confirm the judges the President nominates to fight the crime problem.
I am also appalled by the use of the term "nuclear option" when the Democrats claim that the Republican majority plans to remove the rule allowing filibuster of judicial nominees. There is nothing nuclear about it, or about the threat to shut the Senate down if the majority gets its way. This is just use of an inflammatory word to stir up the public who half-way listens to the evening news. "What, the Republicans want to use a nuclear option? We can't do that, it'll start a war!"
Maybe Emporer Palpatine had the right idea by dissolving the Senate after getting himself appointed Chancellor. Hmmm, I wonder why Jar Jar didn't filibuster?
Just kidding. Tomorrow- a review of "Revenge of the Sith." I'm taking a vacation day to go see it on opening day.