Republican gains can help judicial nominees

by on December 23rd, 2003

Former Clinton aide and adviser Dick Morris sees the Republicans winning big in 2004, debates about who will be president aside. Out of seven seats bidding for replacements–five Democrats and two Republicans–six of the seven are in states Bush carried in 2000, Morris writes.

The most likely result would be a Republican gain of three or four, knocking the Democrats down to only 44 or 45 seats, barely enough to sustain a filibuster. If Bush wipes out Dean in a landslide, the Democrats could fall even lower, although it seems unlikely that they would drop below the magic number of 40 needed to oppose closure on Democratic filibusters.

And the lofty goal of a 60-40 advantage in the Senate will go a long way, especially as far as Bush’s judicial nominees are concerned. Because of the new Democratic practice of filibustering unwanted judicial nominees, Republicans now need 60 seats to bring judges to a vote. Last month, Republicans finally showed their frustration by holding a filibuster of their own.

Democrats have been doing it for years–blocking many of Bush’s judicial nominees to crucial bench seats. They claim they’re blocking conservative ideologues. But if so, why not put it to a simple vote? The fact that these highly recommended judges would have an easy time being nominated were they actually brought before the entire Senate is reason enough of their moderation–and to hope for a 60 seat majority to defeat future Democratic filibusters. And it goes to show that no matter how hard the opposition tries to spin it, Bush’s nominees should at least be given an up-or-down vote.

Thus far, all blocked nominees happen to be U.S. Appeals Court nominees. As I wrote then: Coincidence? I think not.

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