Sunday, May 29, 2005

Senate Compromise: Did Democrats Break Commitment Before Ink Was Dry?

This past Monday evening, the group of 14 senators signed a compromise deal on filibusters of judicial nominees. The deal did not specifically address the fate of 2 controversial nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, whose nominations were still pending in committee. An unconfirmed report spread that the group of 14 had an unwritten agreement to kill the nominations of Kavanaugh and Haynes. Some of the Republican signatories to the deal have denied any such unwritten agreement.

Now, we have a report on the fate of these 2 nominees (via PoliPundit):

In the privacy of his Capitol office last Monday night, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., asked for commitments from six Democrats fresh from the talks. Would they pledge to support filibusters against Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, two nominees not specifically covered by the pact with Republicans?

Some of the Democrats agreed. At least one, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, declined.

Details of Reid's attempt to kill the two nominations within minutes of the agreement, as well as other events during this tumultuous time, were obtained by The Associated Press in interviews with senators and aides in both parties. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing confidentiality pledges.


If this report is true, some of the Democrat signatories, but not including Sen. Nelson (D-Neb.), are operating in bad faith and broke their commitment to support future filibusters only in "extraordinary circumstances". The truth of this report will become apparent when the nominations of Kavanaugh and Haynes are reported out of committee to the full Senate. If some of the Democrat signatories do support a filibuster of either of these nominees, I hope the Republican signatories have enough backbone to support a rule change to end filibusters of judicial nominees.

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