Whose Principle?

On "Face the Nation" today, Mitch McConnell said that Republicans could filibuster Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation vote if they decide to oppose the president's Supreme Court nominee. On May 19, 2005, the very same Mitch McConnell said this:

Because of the unprecedented obstruction of our Democratic colleagues, the Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote.

McConnell argues that the filibuster is an acceptable alternative because Democrats established that precedent. It's all so clear now. Republican "principles" are meant for Democrats to follow, not Republicans.

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    Hypocrites? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:42:48 PM EST

    But as a matter of principle, imo, the Senate should always have the right to filibuster a President's judicial nominees.

    I said so in 2005 and I say so now.

    All are hypocrites -- Dems, too (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 05:08:37 PM EST
    as I also keep hearing the excuse that "the Republicans did it."

    So it's not "pols will be pols."  

    It's "pols will be hypocrites."

    But we knew that.  Nothing new here. . . .


    Waaaa (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:07:54 PM EST
    "They did it too!"

    "I'm so sick of Congress, I could vomit."
                        -Josh Lyman (The West Wing)


    Yeh, and now my state legislators (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:28:17 PM EST
    are playing that ridiculous game.  Assembly Dems got caught planning a fundraiser for this week, during final sessions on the (disastrous) state budget -- after the Dems publicly vowed last biennium that they would not do so, pointing fingers at the Repubs for doing so.  So what did the Dems respond this week to criticism?  "Well, the Repubs did it last time, too."  Uh, yeh, and that's why you publicly vowed not to do so, too. . . .

    Ditto re earmarks in the state budget -- $37 million worth of Dem earmarks, after whining for years about Repub earmarks.  And the Dem earmarks are Almost exactly the amount, $33 million, that the Dem gov announced would be saved by canceling a deferred raise for some state employees -- state university faculty and some staff -- and by furloughing all state employees for the next two years for severe cuts in state services to the public, and of course, especially to the poor.  

    But the Dem pols will have their perks; they will bring home the bacon to their districts and get re-elected, and that's all that matters to them.  The hypocrites.


    Who created "to bork a nominee"? (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by diogenes on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:37:52 PM EST
    Face it, the Dems were the first ones to toss out a clearly qualified (i.e. superqualified on legal grounds) nominee on purely political grounds.

    Truly Orwellian (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:46:34 PM EST
    Dems established the precedent of filibuster by not filibustering and of Bush's nominees.

    I'm sure Lieberman is waiting in the wings to lead another gang of 14. Maybe he'll get Sotomayor through by promising the Republicans they can filibuster any other non white male nominees.

    shameful (none / 0) (#8)
    by bocajeff on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:16:15 PM EST
    What it boils down to (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:52:00 PM EST
    is that any notion that the filibuster shouldn't be allowed is wrong.  The parties should have every tool available to stop a confirmation if they truly feel the nominee should not be confirmed.

    McConnel was wrong then.  He's right now.

    And hypocrisy is the norm in politics.  It is exclusive to no individual nor party.  Politicians rely on their constituents' short memories, so I always try and have as long as long a memory as possible.

    Yes, but let them (none / 0) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 03:14:26 PM EST
    take that long walk.  No threat of filibuster, or we can get the votes necessary, talk, or Senator Reid is scared. It is a political maneuver that deserves its consequences.

    Of course they could filibuster; (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by Anne on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:59:00 PM EST
    if they believe that strongly that Sotomayor is not qualified to be a SC justice, then they should do what they think they have to.

    They will look hypocritical and bigoted and small-minded and selfish, and I'd be willing to bet there might even be a Democrat or two who would join them - in other words, the same old, same old.  We'll see what happens when push comes to shove, but they're already whining about not having enough time (it was enough for the Roberts nomination, though), so I'm pretty sure they will continue in that vein.

    What I do have some concerns about is, what happens the next time?  Obama has shown - and even stated - that he much prefers bipartisan acceptance than using the bare Democratic majority to get what Democrats want.  Next time, does Obama pick a nominee who is more acceptable to the GOP in the hope of getting more GOP votes?

    I am personally leaning toward the possibility of Ginsburg and Stevens continuing to serve because they fear what an Obama nominee would mean to their unabashedly liberal seats.


    It is (none / 0) (#15)
    by lentinel on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 05:52:36 PM EST
    beyond any hope that Obama would appoint an "unabashed" liberal.
    God Forbid.
    I am beginning to experience total indifference to Obama, whomever he may be.

    Lots of bluster (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 03:44:09 PM EST
    but they clearly don't have the votes.

    Whose precedent? (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:15:41 PM EST
    McConnell is keeping his record for gross dishonesty intact.

    It was the Republicans who set the precedent in 1968 when Robert Griffin (R-MI) led a successful filibuster against Johnson's nomination of Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    I suppose that nobody countered McConnell's lie.

    The Sunday morning hosts either lack the knowledge or the guts to counter.  Probably both.  What a worthless bunch.

    um, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by bocajeff on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:23:15 PM EST
    there were some Dems involved in that filibuster also.

    From my reading of history the relationship between Fortas and Johnson was a tad too close for comfort. Much closer than Scalia and Cheney...


    Excuse me (none / 0) (#22)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:16:43 PM EST
    the Democrats involved were Dixiecrats, the forerunners of today's southern Republican block.

    The fact is that the resistence to Fortas was of Republican origin.

    The problem with the Fortas/Johnson connection is that Johnson had already announced he would not be a candidate.  Any coziness between the two was meaningless. Of course meaningless crap never stops Republicans.

    The Dixiecrats opposed Fortas because he was a supporter of civil rights.

    It would be helpful if you didn't automatically regurgitate GOP talking points.

    This article may enlighten you.


    Info (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by lentinel on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:37:55 PM EST
    All I have read about Sotomayor has to do with her ethnicity.

    I still have no idea whether she would vote on the side of civil liberties and freedom.

    I don't know if she would be a liberal or a right of center centrist.

    Her history on Scotusblog is not too reassuring.

    People who are knowledgeable about the law do not seem to be discussing what kind of Justice she would be.

    How did you conclude (1.00 / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 05:46:30 PM EST
    that she is "fair"?
    And what do you mean by "fair"?

    If she had a case involving a conflict between the rights of the individual to privacy or the right of a governmental agency to invade that privacy in the interests of "national security", how would she vote?

    If she had to come down on the side of the citizens' right to acquire information under the Freedom of Information Act or the right of the government to withhold that information, how would she vote?


    Strongly held notions.... (none / 0) (#20)
    by jerry on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:29:55 PM EST
    I do know what I don't want, which is yet another federal jurist with strongly held notions of how things ought to be. Really, that's what politicians are for.

    I am not disagreeing with you on Sotomayor, I am just wondering how you think any jurist can somehow get to where they are without strongly held notions of how things ought to be.

    I think it's really bogus how journalists and judges both make these weird claims to being neutral, objective, and unbiased.

    I think the rest of the world has moved on to be open and transparent as much as possible, making potential conflicts known, recusing when needed, and living with the bias otherwise.

    Crudely, I can believe that Journalists are more neutral than Judges.  Journalists start off as C grade party kids with almost know knowledge of the world.  Judges start off as lawyers, lawyers often start off as activists, (and Sotomayor in this respect started off as activist, became a prosecutor, how can she not have strongly held notions of how things ought to be?)

    Anyway, I guess I'd rather have 9 justices who are completely open about their experience and biases and open to questions about issues and how they judge, than have 9 justices who have figured out how to never say anything they can get in trouble for and refuse to acknowledge any sort of human foible or strong belief in anything.


    Dark Avenger, (none / 0) (#23)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 01:09:12 PM EST
    why did you troll rate lentinel's comment? Do you disagree with what we don't know about Sotomayor?

    Are they playing Tit for Tat with Forgiveness (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by jerry on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 06:23:41 PM EST
    While I am not defending Mitch McConnell or Republicans in general, it is conceivable (barely!  hardly!  I can't conceive it) that they are playing tit for tat with forgiveness, which presumably would lead to a better outcome for us all if we adopted it too.

    Apart from that, yeah, what Donald from Hawaii said.