Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Senate Majority or Super Majority?

Each party accuses the other of an anti-constitutional break with tradition. While such a thing seems patently nonsensical in a country with a written constitution, the hesitation with which the Republicans approach what they legally have the power to do underscores the fact that the terms of the US Constitution are not the lone arbiter of political process. Yet the full scope of the filibuster rule is forever obscure: it is a negotiation, even today, not a supermajority requirement.

It is worth considering that the Republicans are now only proposing to ban the filibuster of judicial nominations. This makes no sense in connection to the argument they have made that "advice and consent" can be made only by a simple majority; why do only these presidential nominations need haven from the filibuster? Clearly, this is yet another compromise with a beloved tradition of obligatory, relative consensus.

Here's a recent political comment on the issue.

I have the impression that once John Bolton is confirmed many things will start moving. Ending the filibuster for judges is one. Bush SocSec proposal is another. Aggressive action in Middle East is another...

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