Monday, May 23, 2005

No Compromise Will Work

A group of 6 or 7 Dmocrats and 6 or 7 Republicans is trying to reach a compromise on judical filibusters. A compromise that is acceptable to Democrats must include no rule change. A compromise that is acceptable to Republicans must include an agreement not to filibuster nominees who are not extreme. There appears to be some small room for a compromise.

However, any compromise will be fool's gold because no compromise is likely to work to the satisfaction of both parties. If the Republicans agree not to change the filibuster rule, the Democrats will filibuster some nominee later on the ground that he is extreme or otherwise unsuitable for the bench. If the nominee is for the Supreme Court, you can rest assured that the Democrats will filibuster any conservative nominee. If the Democrats give up the right to filibuster judicial nominees in all except truly (to Republicans) extraordinary circumstances, the Democrats will not be able to block any nominees, assuming Pres. Bush does a good job of vetting nominees.

Thus, a compromise can only delay the inevitable showdown on judicial filibusters. If the senators of both parties today consider the rule change a politically hazardous vote, what will they think of it closer to election day? What will they think of it when the nomination is for the Supreme Court and the rule change is front paghe news?

UPDATE: Of course, while I was writing this piece, a compromise has been reached. I still have reservations about whether the deal can work satisfoactorily for both parties.


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