Thursday, May 05, 2005

Preserve Senate rules

Star Tribune reported David Durenberger and Walter F. Mondale say Preserve Senate rules, filibuster and all

The American people should know that the proposed repeal of the filibuster rule for judicial nominees by majority vote will profoundly and permanently undermine the purpose of the U.S. Senate as it has stood since Thomas Jefferson first wrote the Senate's rules.

And those rules die NOT include the filibuster
We join together, across party lines, in an urgent plea of support for the current Senate rules. Today, as it has been for 200 years, an individual senator may talk without limit on an issue; and others may join in, and they may continue to press those issues until or unless the Senate by 60 votes ends that debate and a vote occurs.
But today they don't want to talk about it. They just want to threaten to talk, and then see if there are 60 people that don't want them to talk. Frist offerred them 100 hours for debate for each nominee.
No other legislative body has such a rule. Why?
Because they see how it is being abused in the Senate
Well, the Senate, with two senators from each state, armed with six-year terms, was intended to provide broader geographical representation than was the House of Representatives. The Senate was expected to deliberate and debate, to weigh and ponder significant national issues and to advise and consent on presidential nominations.

Today's rules allow a screening of judges by the Senate. Most presidential nominees are confirmed, but there are always a few instances where the nominee is unable to obtain the Senate's approval.
If a nominee can't get a majority to vote in his (or her) favor in a straight up or down vote, then that is fine.
We think this process has been good for the judiciary and good for the country. This Senate rule has led to a stronger, less partisan, truly independent court.
What is happening now is definitely partisan.
Weaknesses in judicial nominees are usually exposed in bipartisan Judiciary Committee hearings. If presidential pressure forces a partisan vote on the floor, you can often count on a bipartisan vote on the floor not to confirm. Both of us have seen this happen and value this exercise of checks and balances.
As do I. Block them in committee if you have the votes, or block them on the floor of the Senate, if you have the votes, but give them an Up or Down Vote.
Scott @PowerLine blogged Today's Minneapolis Star Tribune hits some kind of a new bottom in the debate on the filibuster with a "bipartisan" op-ed column by former Vice President Walter Mondale and Republican former Minnesota Senator David Durenberger. (Where is Durenberger now? Durenberger is now chair of the National Institute of Health Policy at the University of St. Thomas College of Business.) When last seen in the pages of the Star Tribune this past October, Durenberger was endorsing John Kerry for president. So far as I can determine, Durenberger holds himself out as a Republican solely for the purpose of advancing the Democratic issue du jour -- bipartisanship a la Star Tribune! It's a beautful thing.



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