Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Monday, May 23, 2005


Breaking, Senate compromises.

If this compromise is anything like the ones I've heard of before, it's not a compromise but appeasement: Democrats let through a number of judges they don't think ought to be let through in exchange for nothing from Republicans.


Under the deal, the Democrats agreed to accept cloture votes on three of President Bush's judicial nominees: Priscilla R. Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor.

In return, the Republicans pledged not to support the so-called "nuclear option" to end the ability of the minority to use filibusters to block nominees.

... If at least 60 of the Senate's 100 members voted for cloture, the body could then proceed to a vote on Owen. If not, Frist planned to make a point of order that debate on a judicial nominee should be limited and ask Vice President Cheney, as the presiding officer of the Senate, for a ruling. That would lead to a vote that, if Frist prevailed, would effectively set a new precedent by requiring a simple majority, instead of 60 votes, to end judicial filibusters. This would also circumvent the Senate requirement of a two-thirds vote -- 67 senators -- to change the body's rules.

Maybe Republicans did give something: they agreed not to launch a nuke at Senate Rule 22 that to change the Senate's rules, two-thirds present must vote yea,

[T]he Presiding Officer shall, without debate, submit to the Senate by a yea-and-nay vote the question:

"Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?" And if that question shall be decided in the affirmative by three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn -- except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting -- then said measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of.

UPDATE: In the agreement, seven Republicans committed not to vote for the nuclear option during this Congress. This may be a good deal.

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