Filibuster compromise?

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So, let me see if I have this right: in return for the Republicans "agreeing" not to use the nuclear option in return for the Democrats agreeing not to filibuster Brown, Owen, and Pryor. [*]. Maybe I'm missing something, but weren't Brown and Owen the nominees that the Democrats found most objectionable? The dignity of the senate aside, the purpose of the filibuster from the Democrat's perspective is to allow them to block senate action they don't like. There's not a lot of point in preserving the right to filibuster if you can't actually use it.

This would be a plausible-seeming compromise if the Democrats had extracted a real commitment but it doesn't seem to me that they have:

But Republicans said they are free to back a ban if they believe Democrats act in bad faith and filibuster a nominee whose credentials do not amount to an "extraordinary" circumstance. "We don't think we're going to get there," said Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), adding that he will not hesitate to vote to ban judicial filibusters if he concludes the Democrats are abusing the right.

How is this not complete capitulation by the Democrats?

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It's not like they have a lot of choice if the GOP has the votes. I don't buy this "slow the Senate to a crawl" threat. Presumably, the majority can change all the procedural rules that prove effective denials of service. Given they've crossed the Rubicon already, I don't see what's stopping them from this kind of power grab.

The real question is whether this is a tactical retreat while they maneuver for an eventual counterattack or just a complete rout.

It's not clear yet, but the real loser may have been Frist. Frist was on a trajectory to gain 2008 Presidential backing (in form of cash) from the Republican base. This could have locked up the nomination for him. But the near term effect of the move by the Senate Republicans is to cast doubt on Frist's leadership and question whether to freeze his money.

McCain may fancy himself a KingMaker. Or at least a spoiler.

As pure speculation, the Democrats who negotiated the deal may have different priorities about who they want to block than the Democratic leadership, who probably organized most of the rhetoric about who is most objectionable.

On the surface, the compromise does seem to lack compromise. My guess is that Brown, Owen, and Pryor are really not that objectionable when it gets down to it. Afterall, the charges of "judicial activism" against Owen have been debunked leaving only the charge of teaching Sunday School.

I think its because the democrats were afraid of the following sequence:

Republicans claim judicial fillibuster unconstitutional, conduct a majority vote (rather than a 70% vote) to change the rules.

Democrats go into fillibuster everything mode.

Now either

a) A few democrats break ranks.

b) The republicans say the whole fillibuster is unconstitutional, and repeat the nuclear option rule change tactic to remove the fillibuster completely.

Actually, you know its a compromise when both sides are unhappy... and there seems to be a lot of that going around.

This episode has already been a watershed of shortsightedness by the Republican "leadership". The fillibuster is now quite dead, and the Dems will demonstrate this once they get power. As usual, R posturing paves the way for the Ds to do the real thing.

I think Rush is right about McCain--he's trying to mess over Bush & Frist. I think that most of the other 14 are probably doing this in a vain hope of preserving the fillibuster. I think it's even likely that they're doing it for patriotic reasons more than the fact that it enhances their power.

You don't need 60 votes to break a fillibuster, especially when you're an ally of the speaker. Imagine if LBJ had been faced with this problem.

Still, the best thing for Frist to do now is to bring up these first three, get them confirmed, then bring up the others one at a time. Put up or shut up time was about four years ago.

And yes, the idea that the fillibuster can be unconstitutional is preposterous. But then, so is the idea that states can't regulate interstate commerce of alcohol. (See: 21st ammendment)

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