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12 minutes ago, holymoses said:

I recall two challenges, only one successful.  Thomas, of course, had that Anita Hill thing.  If she was telling the truth, I think it was a fair concern.

You might recall why I think Bork was a fair challenge.  At the time, it was all about his ideology, which is wrong.  To the victors go the spoils (as RedBlack or Beernuts or the guy who had a crush on Chuck Hagel or one of the moderates who used to hang out here liked to say.)

During Watergate, after the Court approved the subpoena of the Tapes, Nixon ordered the Attorney General to fire the Special Prosecutor (Archibald Cox . . . . You can't imagine how confusing it was for me as a child Hearing about Archibald Cox and Tiny Archibald in the same era.)    The Attorney General resigned in protest.  As did the next in line.  Third in line was Bork, who allegedly was promised the next Supreme Court Appointment if he carried out the "Saturday Night Massacre" which he did. 

Then you had one of the forgotten heroes in American History, Leon Jaworski, who was hand picked by Bork and Nixon . . . and I think Alexander Haig, to fill Cox's position.  Cox's staffers were despondent.  Jaworski was a Democrat . . . who had voted for Nixon twice and headed up "Democrats for Nixon".  And he was a Texan. 

But Jaworski kept the pressure on, fighting up to the Supreme Court to have the Tapes turned over.  At that point, it was all over for Nixon and he was compelled to resign.  But, as a 7 year old, I distinctly remember a brief period of outrage when it looked like Nixon was going to get away with it.  THAT was Bork's doing.

OF course, I didn't know any of this until I started doing some research after my wife was fired.  While some considered Watergate "Our Long National Nightmare."  Nathan Deal considered it a pretty good idea that just needed some fine tuning.  Instead of replacing the prosecutor with a man of integrity and competence like Jaworksi (youngest to ever pass Texas Bar, Civil Right Attorney, Nazi war crime investigator) Deal hired Holly LaBerge, career retail clerk and two year lobbyist.

THIS is a GREAT READ on that history by Jaworski's grandson.

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/11/opinion/l-what-bork-did-in-watergate-was-obstruction-293787.html

 

Really?  You recall two?

Does Alito count as a challenge?  What about Bork?  Ginsberg?  Meier?  What about Democrats who refused to vote for Roberts, like Hillary Clinton and…..who was it again….oh, yeah, Barack Obama?

Is a challenge only a challenge if it's successful?  Meaning, if the Republicans try, but fail, to block an Obama nomination now, you won't count it as a challenge?  What if the Republicans allow a vote but all Republicans vote "no?"  Is that a challenge, or just business as usual?

The point, obviously, is you can't have it both ways.  Elections have consequences.  That includes Senatorial elections.

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6 minutes ago, Leon Troutsky said:

First of all, you keep making these sweeping claims like "Democrats do whatever the **** they want to do" that are factually untrue.  They could have blocked Alito, for instance.  They didn't.  Almost half of the Democrats voted for cloture knowing full well that meant Alito would be confirmed.  Some of them filibustered, and that was wrong.  But ultimately, Bush got the the conservative nominee that he wanted.  It seems like your argument is, "Democrats have done these things that I don't like, so Republicans are justified in whatever they propose whatever that might be."

In other words, you want to make this about party.  It's not about party.  It's about the precedent that will be set by this path that Republicans are marching towards.  Namely, Republicans are arguing that no president can ever appoint a justice during an election year.  You say, "well, they don't really mean that."  Except, by all accounts they do mean that.  Would they be rank hypocrites and argue the opposite if the tables were turned?  Of course.  Doesn't change the fact that if they block this president from appointing a nominee, no president in the future will be allowed to appoint a nominee during an election year during divided government.  That's unlike anything we've seen in recent history.  It's not "the Democrats playbook" because Democrats have never done this.  At least, you can't show an instance where Democrats have tried to block a Republican president from appointing a justice during an election year.  So we are in uncharted area where the out party is trying to completely block the president from appointing any nominee whatsoever during an election year.  

I have acknowledged Democratic obstructionism several times in this thread.  You might read back through this thread to see all of those acknowledgements, because you seem to have missed them when reading my posts.  This isn't about which party is doing what, it's about the template that gets set for future presidents of either party.  And just because some Democrats in the past have filibustered a Republican nominee - unsuccessfully because many Democrats voted for cloture - does not excuse what Republicans are now attempting to do.  Again, you want to make this about party and not look at the consequences of what Republicans are proposing, and you're doing that out of some vague sense of revenge against perceived past wrongs by Democrats in the past.  

 

 

 

Who is "they?"  Does Obama count?  He voted to filibuster Alito.  What about Clinton?  Kerry?  Biden (who, by the way, was instrumental in the Bork Borking)?

This notion that blocking appointments is out of bounds because it's an election year is just as arbitrary and ridiculous as Republicans claiming the President shouldn't appoint anyone.  It's all gamesmanship, and as ever, it depends on whose ox is being gored.  I'm content to have everyone play the game the same way, which means if Republicans FINALLY get around to trying to block a nominee, I'll consider it a sign of balance.

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13 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

Really?  You recall two?

Does Alito count as a challenge?  What about Bork?  Ginsberg?  Meier?  What about Democrats who refused to vote for Roberts, like Hillary Clinton and…..who was it again….oh, yeah, Barack Obama?

Is a challenge only a challenge if it's successful?  Meaning, if the Republicans try, but fail, to block an Obama nomination now, you won't count it as a challenge?  What if the Republicans allow a vote but all Republicans vote "no?"  Is that a challenge, or just business as usual?

The point, obviously, is you can't have it both ways.  Elections have consequences.  That includes Senatorial elections.

You keep bringing up Harriet Meiers as some kind of example of Democratic obstructionism.  That's very weird considering my previous post where I showed all of the prominent conservative Republicans who blocked her because she was flat out unqualified for the position.  That's the problem here.  You perceive all of these great wrongs done by Democrats when many of them were based on legitimate opposition.  And you want to draw an equivalency between Meiers - who was blocked because of her obvious lack of qualifications - and what Republicans are doing now.  

Edited for clarity: Voting "no" on a nominee because they are too ideologically extreme is one thing.  I don't mind that in a period of divided government because the Senate was also elected by the people and they have a say in the nomination.  For example, I don't mind that Republicans voted against Sotomayor because they viewed her as too extreme.  That is not obstructionism, that is voting because a nominee is viewed as ideologically extreme.  And that's what happened with Bork (along with other reasons as HM pointed out).  

Filibustering a nominee for ideological reasons is where we get to actual obstructionism, and yes some Democrats have been guilty of that.  Those Democrats have also turned into rank hypocrites when the tables were turned.  The filibuster shouldn't be allowed precisely because the majority of the Senate should have its say.  A minority should not be allowed to block the nominee.  Ultimately, though, "the Democrats" didn't block Alito with a filibuster.  They allowed his confirmation despite their ideological objections to him.  

But notice in those cases, it was opposition to a specific nominee based on specific things that nominee said during the hearing.  That's not what Republicans are doing.  They are saying that NO nominee WHATSOEVER will even get a hearing, let alone a vote.  If you want to say this is "straight out of the Democratic playbook", then you have to show an equivalent action by the Democrats regarding this.  You keep citing Bork, but Democrats didn't say that NO nominee by Reagan would be acceptable.  They said that a specific one - Bork - was not acceptable because of ideology.  And the next nominee that came before them (that wasn't mired in a scandal) was nominated unanimously.  

Again, where is the equivalency to what Republicans are doing now?  

 

 

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13 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

Who is "they?"  Does Obama count?  He voted to filibuster Alito.  What about Clinton?  Kerry?  Biden (who, by the way, was instrumental in the Bork Borking)?

This notion that blocking appointments is out of bounds because it's an election year is just as arbitrary and ridiculous as Republicans claiming the President shouldn't appoint anyone.  It's all gamesmanship, and as ever, it depends on whose ox is being gored.  I'm content to have everyone play the game the same way, which means if Republicans FINALLY get around to trying to block a nominee, I'll consider it a sign of balance.

Again, Republicans are not talking about filibustering a specific candidate because that candidate is too ideologically extreme.  

The first sentence in the second paragraph makes absolutely no sense.  I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.  Republicans are the ones claiming that no president can be allowed to appoint a SC justice during an election year.  That is their claim.  

Maybe this will help clarify things.  In the past, Democrats have blocked specific nominees for specific reasons.  Those reasons might not have been justified, but they were things related to a specific nominee.  Ultimately, in all of those cases, the president was able to appoint a SC justice.  Maybe not his first choice, but he got an appointment.  

In this case, Republicans are saying the president should not get ANY appointment, REGARDLESS of who that person might be.  They are saying NO appointment will be made by this president WHATSOEVER.  They are the ones declaring this arbitrary and ridiculous timeframe of election years that has no precedent in recent history.  

If the president had nominated a strong liberal like Sotomayor and Republicans voted no en mass after a full hearing, I would agree that was just the typical gamesmanship.  And frankly, I wouldn't even blame Republicans for that.  They have the majority in the Senate and the President during divided government shouldn't get an ideologically extreme appointment.  That's the negotiating process that occurs during divided government.  During divided government, the two sides should compromise on a moderate appointment.  I don't mind that.

But again, that's not what's happening here.  Republicans are refusing any and all nominees before they have even been announced, and they are justifying that on the arbitrary and ridiculous claim that presidents don't get appointments during an election year.  That's very different from what we've seen in the past.  

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Whoa, this is an intriguing possibility...

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/how-obama-could-win-supreme-court-battle-even-if-republicans-n519121

Basically, if Democrats win the Senate and Republicans win the White House, there will be 17 days in which Obama will be president and the Democrats in control of the Senate.  That would allow Democrats to invoke the "nuclear option" - eliminate filibusters of SC nominees - and vote on Obama's nominee.  Ironically, that would probably mean an even more liberal nominee than would be the case if Republicans didn't block Obama now.

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12 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

Really?  You recall two?

Does Alito count as a challenge?  What about Bork?  Ginsberg?  Meier?  What about Democrats who refused to vote for Roberts, like Hillary Clinton and…..who was it again….oh, yeah, Barack Obama?

Is a challenge only a challenge if it's successful?  Meaning, if the Republicans try, but fail, to block an Obama nomination now, you won't count it as a challenge?  What if the Republicans allow a vote but all Republicans vote "no?"  Is that a challenge, or just business as usual?

The point, obviously, is you can't have it both ways.  Elections have consequences.  That includes Senatorial elections.

First, we are talking votes versus blocking a vote. 

Second.  Yes, I did talk about Bork . . . extensively. 

Third.  There is a difference between voting against an appointee on blind ideological grounds and voting on qualifications or other substantive reasons.  I think the important questions here are why did Jim Jeffords (Independent) and Lincoln Chaffee (Republican) vote to confirm Roberts but not Alito?  Is it because Alito replaced a swing vote whereas Roberts was a Conservative replacing a Conservative?  Or was it something about Alito's qualifications? 

Obama and Clinton voted against both.  So there is a problem for the Democrats here.

BUT I WANT TO BE CLEAR about where I am on this:  I completely agree:  Elections have consequences.  So this is what I think SHOULD happen:  Obama SHOULD appoint a Justice in a timely manner.  The Senate SHOULD conduct confirmation hearings and a vote in a timely manner.  If the Senate was consistent with their vote for Alito (AND we assume that the partisan voting was due to ideology, not qualifications) Obama SHOULD probably be able to confirm a Centrist Judge (O'Connor was a Centrist replaced by a Conservative.  This will be a replacement of a Conservative, so the Senate Republicans would be consistent if they wholly rejected a Liberal.)

44 Democrats  . . . I can't imagine anyone would pull a Chaffee and vote against the President's confirmation.

2 Independents (They caucus with the Democrats Just as Jeffords did)

4 or 5 Republicans (1/11).  So, IF the Republicans are going to be consistent, they should have hearings and a vote.  They would be justified in voting against a clear liberal, but a few should cross over to confirm a Centrist.  It would be very close, and we could see Biden casting the deciding Confirmation vote.

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11 minutes ago, holymoses said:

First, we are talking votes versus blocking a vote. 

Second.  Yes, I did talk about Bork . . . extensively. 

Third.  There is a difference between voting against an appointee on blind ideological grounds and voting on qualifications or other substantive reasons.  I think the important questions here are why did Jim Jeffords (Independent) and Lincoln Chaffee (Republican) vote to confirm Roberts but not Alito?  Is it because Alito replaced a swing vote whereas Roberts was a Conservative replacing a Conservative?  Or was it something about Alito's qualifications? 

Obama and Clinton voted against both.  So there is a problem for the Democrats here.

BUT I WANT TO BE CLEAR about where I am on this:  I completely agree:  Elections have consequences.  So this is what I think SHOULD happen:  Obama SHOULD appoint a Justice in a timely manner.  The Senate SHOULD conduct confirmation hearings and a vote in a timely manner.  If the Senate was consistent with their vote for Alito (AND we assume that the partisan voting was due to ideology, not qualifications) Obama SHOULD probably be able to confirm a Centrist Judge (O'Connor was a Centrist replaced by a Conservative.  This will be a replacement of a Conservative, so the Senate Republicans would be consistent if they wholly rejected a Liberal.)

44 Democrats  . . . I can't imagine anyone would pull a Chaffee and vote against the President's confirmation.

2 Independents (They caucus with the Democrats Just as Jeffords did)

4 or 5 Republicans (1/11).  So, IF the Republicans are going to be consistent, they should have hearings and a vote.  They would be justified in voting against a clear liberal, but a few should cross over to confirm a Centrist.  It would be very close, and we could see Biden casting the deciding Confirmation vote.

I agree that's what should happen.  I'm simply saying that what should have happened in the past didn't, and the very President that voted to filibuster Alito has zero moral authority to chastise anyone for obstructing his nomination.

Especially when he has had 2 nominees easily confirmed without all the filibuster and phalanx talk.

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22 minutes ago, Leon Troutsky said:

The first sentence in the second paragraph makes absolutely no sense.  I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.  Republicans are the ones claiming that no president can be allowed to appoint a SC justice during an election year.  That is their claim.  

He's going to make an appointment.  When he does, we will see what happens.  My point is that should the Republicans refuse to hold a vote, or allow a vote and vote consistently against the nominee, or otherwise obstruct the nomination, no one has any cause to complain about it.  There is precedent for it.  It's what the Democrats consistently do under similar circumstances.

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34 minutes ago, Leon Troutsky said:

Filibustering a nominee for ideological reasons is where we get to actual obstructionism, and yes some Democrats have been guilty of that.  Those Democrats have also turned into rank hypocrites when the tables were turned.  The filibuster shouldn't be allowed precisely because the majority of the Senate should have its say.  A minority should not be allowed to block the nominee.  Ultimately, though, "the Democrats" didn't block Alito with a filibuster.  They allowed his confirmation despite their ideological objections to him.  

This isn't "some Democrats."  It's THE VERY DEMOCRAT NOW ASKING THE SENATE TO APPROVE HIS NOMINEE.

And his vice president.  And his former Secretary of State.  And his current Secretary of State.  Etc.

So yeah, "the Democrats" didn't block Alito with a filibuster.  But THIS Democrat tried to.  Where is his moral authority to complain if they take similar tactics against his nominee?

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2 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

He's going to make an appointment.  When he does, we will see what happens.  My point is that should the Republicans refuse to hold a vote, or allow a vote and vote consistently against the nominee, or otherwise obstruct the nomination, no one has any cause to complain about it.  There is precedent for it.  It's what the Democrats consistently do under similar circumstances.

That depends on how things progress now that Republicans have staked out the position that Obama should not get any appointment whatsoever.  

If Obama nominates a liberal Justice and they vote based on ideology, that's par for the course.  And as I said earlier, I would not even disagree with that vote.

If he nominates a centrist but they find credible questions of wrong-doing or lack of qualifications, they are perfectly correct to reject the nominee.  Again, I would not even disagree with that because that's a very legitimate reason to reject a nominee.

If he nominates a centrist who is immensely qualified and Republicans filibuster or otherwise block the nominee for baseless reasons...that would be unprecedented given their claim that they won't allow him any appointment whatsoever.  In other words, blocking any and all nominees regardless of ideology or qualification is not what "Democrats consistently do under similar circumstances".  It would represent Republicans making a show of the process and making good on their promise to not allow Obama any appointment at all.  

That's why Republicans screwed up by coming out just an hour after Scalia's death and wholesale claiming no nominee would get a hearing or a vote.  They're going to have to find legitimate ideological and/or qualification concerns with the nominee now as justification for rejecting him/her.  Otherwise, it's obvious that they never intended to allow Obama an appointment this year...and again that's not what Democrats have done in the past.

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1 minute ago, JDaveG said:

This isn't "some Democrats."  It's THE VERY DEMOCRAT NOW ASKING THE SENATE TO APPROVE HIS NOMINEE.

And his vice president.  And his former Secretary of State.  And his current Secretary of State.  Etc.

So yeah, "the Democrats" didn't block Alito with a filibuster.  But THIS Democrat tried to.  Where is his moral authority to complain if they take similar tactics against his nominee?

Stephanopoulos: "Two of your colleagues, Senator (Edward) Kennedy and Senator (John) Kerry, want to try to mount a filibuster tomorrow. Will you join them?"

Obama: "Well, I will be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values, you know. When you look at his decisions in particular during times of war, we need a court that is independent and is going to provide some check on the executive branch, and he has not shown himself willing to do that repeatedly. I will say this, though, I think that the Democrats have to do a much better job in making their case on these issues. These last-minute efforts using procedural maneuvers inside the Beltway, I think, has been the wrong way of going about it, and we need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake and frankly I'm not sure that we've successfully done that."

Stephanopoulos: "Well, it sounds to me like you're not really happy about going forward and joining this filibuster. And I've actually seen some reports that inside the Democratic caucus you were arguing against this strategy. Is that true?"

Obama: "Well, you know, I don't talk about what I, you know, what takes place in caucus but what I will say is that there is an over-reliance on the part of Democrats for procedural maneuvers and mechanisms to block the president instead of proactively going out to the American people and talking about the values that we care about. And, you know, there's one way to guarantee that the judges who are appointed to the Supreme Court are judges that reflect our values and that's to win elections."

Later that day, a report from the Associated Press carried the headline, "Sen. Obama Criticizes Filibuster Tactic."

IF you consider that a nominee is outside of Core American Values . . . What are you going to do?  It sounds like his visceral preference would have been hearings that exposed that in Alito, resulting in a rejection.  But he knew that wasn't going to happen.

The point is, are you willing to consider that Obama support of the fillibuster was on substantive grounds, not blind partisanship? 

AND can we agree that this debate has ZERO to do with this being an election year.  Can we agree that for Republicans to talk about letter "the voters decide" is an abomination of several Core Constitutional Values, starting with Article 2, Section 1, "Clause" 2!

 

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Y'all keep saying this is different because it's an election year, and that's what makes the obstructionism unprecedented.  But that's like saying "well, the Democrats never did it during a full moon," or "the Democrats never did it prior to the vernal equinox."  The question is not whether the Republicans are right that no President should ever nominate a Supreme Court justice during an election year.  They don't even believe that.  The question is whether the Republicans have the right to obstruct and hinder the President's nomination to replace an ideologically opposite justice.  The precedent for that is clear -- Democrats do it.  Period.

If Democrats do it, then Republicans can do it, or this is all just special pleading.

As for why Republicans are doing it this way, I have some theories.  One is that Republicans know the President will try to nominate someone that would be politically difficult for them to oppose.  Say, a minority.  And then paint the Republicans as being against minority candidates, etc.  So the Republicans come out and announce they will oppose any nominee, and they can thereby refute that by saying "no, we weren't going to accept anyone he put up."  Another is simple voter turnout.  They don't just want the next President to nominate Scalia's replacement. They want a Republican to do so.  Making this an election issue has the potential to drive Republicans to the polls and consolidate them behind a candidate they might otherwise oppose.  That's a risk -- it will almost certainly do the same for Democrats.  But that seems reasonable to me that they want to make it an election issue not just for the sake of the Court, but for the sake of the Presidency.  And there is NO doubt that this will escalate nomination fights in the future.  

My simple point is this -- since Bork, we've had not one Democratic nominee blocked by filibuster or otherwise.  Not one.  We've had several Republican nominees blocked, threatened with filibuster, and otherwise actively opposed by Democrats.  Y'all keep making distinctions such as "well, Democrats did it on ideology," as if ideology has nothing to do with their opposition to Scalia's replacement.  Are you seriously contending that if another justice had died or retired they'd take the same tack?  Or, alternatively, that if Obama nominates an originalist they'll try to block that candidate?  It's all about ideology.  That's a distinction without a difference.

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7 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

This isn't "some Democrats."  It's THE VERY DEMOCRAT NOW ASKING THE SENATE TO APPROVE HIS NOMINEE.

And his vice president.  And his former Secretary of State.  And his current Secretary of State.  Etc.

So yeah, "the Democrats" didn't block Alito with a filibuster.  But THIS Democrat tried to.  Where is his moral authority to complain if they take similar tactics against his nominee?

Again, you're making it about the parties and the personalities.  Yeah, Obama is a rank hypocrite on the filibuster.  He's also a rank hypocrite on the debt ceiling vote.

Let's talk about the latter.  Obama refused to vote for raising the debt ceiling.  Would that excuse Republicans if they actually had defaulted on the debt and caused serious economic harm to the nation?  Or perhaps we cast our view away from the parties and personality and recognize that defaulting on the debt - by either party - is a terrible idea.  

Similarly, filibustering SC nominees that are viewed as ideologically extreme is a terrible idea, whichever party does it.  

But we're not talking about filibustering a nominee that is viewed as ideologically extreme.  We're talking about wholesale blocking any and all appointments before they are even nominated.  Obama never did that.  So he may be a hypocrite on the filibuster, but there's not a precedent for what Republicans are proposing now.  And I don't understand how Obama's hypocrisy on the filibuster justifies the Republicans' effort to prohibit all appointments to the SC during an election year.  They're not the same thing.

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5 minutes ago, holymoses said:

Stephanopoulos: "Two of your colleagues, Senator (Edward) Kennedy and Senator (John) Kerry, want to try to mount a filibuster tomorrow. Will you join them?"

Obama: "Well, I will be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values, you know. When you look at his decisions in particular during times of war, we need a court that is independent and is going to provide some check on the executive branch, and he has not shown himself willing to do that repeatedly. I will say this, though, I think that the Democrats have to do a much better job in making their case on these issues. These last-minute efforts using procedural maneuvers inside the Beltway, I think, has been the wrong way of going about it, and we need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake and frankly I'm not sure that we've successfully done that."

Stephanopoulos: "Well, it sounds to me like you're not really happy about going forward and joining this filibuster. And I've actually seen some reports that inside the Democratic caucus you were arguing against this strategy. Is that true?"

Obama: "Well, you know, I don't talk about what I, you know, what takes place in caucus but what I will say is that there is an over-reliance on the part of Democrats for procedural maneuvers and mechanisms to block the president instead of proactively going out to the American people and talking about the values that we care about. And, you know, there's one way to guarantee that the judges who are appointed to the Supreme Court are judges that reflect our values and that's to win elections."

Later that day, a report from the Associated Press carried the headline, "Sen. Obama Criticizes Filibuster Tactic."

IF you consider that a nominee is outside of Core American Values . . . What are you going to do?  It sounds like his visceral preference would have been hearings that exposed that in Alito, resulting in a rejection.  But he knew that wasn't going to happen.

The point is, are you willing to consider that Obama support of the fillibuster was on substantive grounds, not blind partisanship? 

AND can we agree that this debate has ZERO to do with this being an election year.  Can we agree that for Republicans to talk about letter "the voters decide" is an abomination of several Core Constitutional Values, starting with Article 2, Section 1, "Clause" 2!

 

Begs the question of what is substantive versus blind partisanship.

As I said, special pleading.  This amounts to an argument that when Republicans obstruct it's wrong, but when Democrats do it, it's because the angels dance when they fart.

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6 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

Y'all keep saying this is different because it's an election year, and that's what makes the obstructionism unprecedented.  But that's like saying "well, the Democrats never did it during a full moon," or "the Democrats never did it prior to the vernal equinox."  The question is not whether the Republicans are right that no President should ever nominate a Supreme Court justice during an election year.  They don't even believe that.  The question is whether the Republicans have the right to obstruct and hinder the President's nomination to replace an ideologically opposite justice.  The precedent for that is clear -- Democrats do it.  Period.

If Democrats do it, then Republicans can do it, or this is all just special pleading.

As for why Republicans are doing it this way, I have some theories.  One is that Republicans know the President will try to nominate someone that would be politically difficult for them to oppose.  Say, a minority.  And then paint the Republicans as being against minority candidates, etc.  So the Republicans come out and announce they will oppose any nominee, and they can thereby refute that by saying "no, we weren't going to accept anyone he put up."  Another is simple voter turnout.  They don't just want the next President to nominate Scalia's replacement. They want a Republican to do so.  Making this an election issue has the potential to drive Republicans to the polls and consolidate them behind a candidate they might otherwise oppose.  That's a risk -- it will almost certainly do the same for Democrats.  But that seems reasonable to me that they want to make it an election issue not just for the sake of the Court, but for the sake of the Presidency.  And there is NO doubt that this will escalate nomination fights in the future.  

My simple point is this -- since Bork, we've had not one Democratic nominee blocked by filibuster or otherwise.  Not one.  We've had several Republican nominees blocked, threatened with filibuster, and otherwise actively opposed by Democrats.  Y'all keep making distinctions such as "well, Democrats did it on ideology," as if ideology has nothing to do with their opposition to Scalia's replacement.  Are you seriously contending that if another justice had died or retired they'd take the same tack?  Or, alternatively, that if Obama nominates an originalist they'll try to block that candidate?  It's all about ideology.  That's a distinction without a difference.

The first paragraph fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the discussion.  WE are not saying "this is unprecedented because it's an election year".  You are somehow trying to attach the Republican argument to us, and then say that we are just as arbitrary as they are.

REPUBLICANS are saying that no president can ever appoint a SC justice during an election year.  That is THEIR argument.  That argument, and their effort to block a SC appointment during an election year, is unprecedented.  You say that Democrats have never had that opportunity - that is factually false.  Democrats COULD have tried this during Reagans last year in office.  They didn't.  They approved Kennedy unanimously.  So the only precedent we have is a situation where Democrats did the opposite of what you're claiming they would do today.

You want to point to Democratic rejection of nominees but you keep ignoring that several of them were rejected for very good reasons.  I've talked extensively about Meiers.  HM has pointed out the other issues surrounding Bork.  Thomas ran into trouble because of sexual assault allegations.  Are you saying those aren't legitimate reasons to raise issues with nominees?  Where are the equivalent questions about Democratic justices?  Which Democratic appointee was accused of sexual assault?  Which Democratic appointee was viewed by her own party as abjectly unqualified?  

The filibuster of Alito was in fact unprecedented.  And it was wrong.  But for about the fourth time, we're not talking about a filibuster for ideological reasons.  We're talking about Republicans demanding that no appointment whatsoever be allowed regardless of who the nominee is or their ideology/qualifications.  Throughout the entire thread, you've yet to show any situation even remotely equivalent to that by Democrats.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Gritzblitz 2.0 said:

Just curious, what was the vote total on Ginsburg's confirmation? Ideologically, she was as undesirable as you could get for Republicans, but if I remember correctly she breezed through because she was qualified.

If opposing based on ideology is a viable thing, then why didn't the GOP do it with Ginsburg?

She was confirmed by a vote of 96-3.

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20 minutes ago, Gritzblitz 2.0 said:

That's my point. By anyone's estimation, her ideology is quite liberal. Why didn't the GOP oppose her confirmation more if ideology is a legitimate reason to oppose a judicial nominee? 

I think that is JDave's point:  Historically, Democrats have injecting partisanship into the Confirmation process more than Republicans.  Obama actually admitted that he voted against the confirmation of Roberts because David Axelrod admonished him to so that he did not get wacked on a pro Republican vote during a primary. 

We have met the enemy as they is us.  Polarization is severely undermining the efficient functioning of our Government.

This is a terrific Chart from the NYTimes depicting relative ideology of the Supreme Court Justices.  Not the extreme shift from White to Ginsberg, yet she was nearly unanimously confirmed.

Graph_of_Martin-Quinn_Scores_of_Supreme_

 

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