July 29, 2005
The question then becomes this: When is it appropriate for a minority of senators—perhaps as few as one—to prevent an up-or-down vote on the nominee by filibustering? The common response is that a filibuster would be proper if the nominee’s “views are out of the mainstream.” Again, that raises the question that I posed yesterday: Who and by what standard is the “mainstream” measured? I suppose that, as a practical matter, the 60th senator, whose vote is needed to end a filibuster under the Senate’s rules, gets to determine what is or is not mainstream. But if one senator thinks that the Constitution requires workers to own the means of production, and the nominee disagrees, is that senator’s decision to pronounce the nominee “out of the mainstream” and filibuster something that should be celebrated, instead of criticized? . . . I’m not so sure that the filibuster, particularly as it has been wielded in recent years by members of both parties, isn’t overdue for some rough treatment.
Read the whole thing. Jim Lindgren, meanwhile, looks at the less-elevated questions posed by the Roberts nomination:
Which of the two leading left-wing judicial appointment watchdog operations will gain credibility with the potential base opposing Bush’s judicial nominees: the Alliance for Justice or the People for the American Way? Or will a new player, MoveOn.org, steal their thunder by beating them to punch, as may already be happening? These organizations face credibility issues — not just with Senators, the press, and the informed public — but with more ideologically motivated donors and joiners as well.