Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kay and judicial nominations...

Kay and Big John have been in the news a little bit for their scrapes with the Obama administration over judges. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal takes them both to task for saying something different in the recent past (link). Excerpt follows...

Just last year, Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) made this point clearly: "Far too many judicial and executive nominees have been delayed. . . . Senators have a right to vote for or against any nominee -- but blocking votes on nominations is unacceptable." Other senatorial statements also are starkly unequivocal. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) said, "I pledged, then and there, I would never filibuster any president's judicial nominee, period. I might vote against them, but I will always see they came to a vote."

Although the Senate is free to filibuster legislation, a number of senators argued that the Constitution requires it to vote on nominations. Thus Orrin Hatch (Utah) said, "The advice and consent clause is clearly an up-or-down vote -- a majority vote -- on the floor of the Senate." Bob Bennett (Utah) added, "In my view, the Founding Fathers clearly intended the Senate to consent to the president's choices on a majority vote." Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas said that "advice and consent as it is called in the Constitution . . . has always meant a majority vote."

For a time it appeared that Republicans might enact a "nuclear option" -- sustaining on a majority vote a ruling that filibusters of presidential nominations are unconstitutional. (The "gang of 14" compromise in 2005, confirming some judges and not others, ended that threat.)

Judges are not typically a vote moving issue, but I hope Kay and Big John keep up this fight. At least delay some of these liberal judges.

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