The Senate just voted by a 52-43 majority to end the GOP’s filibuster of Professor Goodwin Liu’s nomination to a federal appeal court — which, in the bizarro world that is the U.S. Senate, means that Liu’s nomination will not move forward. The vote was entirely along party lines, except that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted “yea” and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) voted “nay.”
Just six short years ago, Republicans sang a very different tune when it came to judicial filibusters. Senate Republicans almost unanimously declared filibusters of judicial nominees to be a horrific betrayal of their constitutional role.
Tom Coburn (R-OK): “If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent. That means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee. And that happened for 200 years.”
John Cornyn (R-TX): “We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his judicial nominations.
Mike Crapo (R-ID): “Until this Congress, not one of the President’s nominees has been successfully filibustered in the Senate of the United States because of the understanding of the fact that the Constitution gives the President the right to a vote.”
Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of judges from 51 to 60, and that’s essentially what we’d be doing if the Democrats were going to filibuster.”
Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation.”
Two things should stand out. One is that the Gang of 14 ( Democrats and Republicans) agreed not to use the filibuster to stop judicial nominees in 2005. So it is Republicans that broke their word. No surprise there, Republicans generally think Honor is just a brand of hotdogs or something to swipe their shoes with. The second astounding aspect of Republican behavior in invoking the filibuster in this situation is that by their own words their actions are unconstitutional. Thus in their own words they have provided grounds for impeachment from the Senate for high crimes. This is a list of just the federal court vacancies who have qualified nominees in place and have waited the longest, but have not been confirmed,
Louis Butler Jr., Nominated to the Western District of Wisconsin on September 30, 2009
Goodwin Liu, Nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on February 24, 2010
Edward C. DuMont, Nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on April 14, 2010
Susan L. Carney, Nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on May 20, 2010
Michael H. Simon, Nominated to the District of Oregon on July 14, 2010
According to JudicialNominations.org there are currently 88 federal court judicial vacancies. 34 of those are considered emergencies. Some of these are the administrations fault for being slow to make nominations, but the majority are due to right-wing obstruction tactics. Some cannot even come to a vote because of “holds”. Some of them are not brought to a vote because the Senate Leader has done a head count and knows a filibuster is certain. It is possible and one hopes that Liu will receive a recess appointment as Bush did for William H. Pryor and Charles W. Pickering. If President Obama does not start to get aggressive and Republicans do not stop just making up parts of the Constitution, Obama will have one of the worse judicial confirmation records in recent history,
What’s wrong with the United States of America? Apparently we’re not in a deep enough economic crisis, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) Calls For Default On The Debt: ‘It Could Benefit Us To Go Through A Period Of Crisis’
As Princeton Professor Alan Blinder noted in the Wall Street Journal this morning, the U.S. defaulting on its obligations could eventually “reignite the world financial crisis”:
Should it occur, the consequences could be severe. It might, for example, reignite the world financial crisis. Remember how rattled financial markets became last year when it looked like Greece might default? And that was just little Greece and the possibility of default. An actual default by the mightiest nation on Earth would be immeasurably more unsettling. Where, in such a case, would frightened investors run to hide? The U.S. dollar would be among the first casualties. If hot money were to flee what was once its safest haven, the dollar would sink and U.S. interest rates would rise. The latter could lead us back into recession.
There would also be lasting costs to the U.S. government in the form of higher interest rates…How much? Again, no one can know. But even if it’s as little as 10-20 basis points on the U.S. government’s average borrowing cost, that’s an additional $10 billion to $20 billion in interest expenses every year. Seems like an expensive way to score a political point
Bank of America analysts agreed, noting that not raising the debt ceiling “would likely push the U.S. into recession and drag down the stock market.”
Jeffery Goldberg ( not to be confused with mama’s boy Jonah Goldberg) is pretty far to the Right when it comes to Israel and even he thinks Obama did a pretty good job, Nothing New in the Idea That ’67 Borders Should Guide Peace Talks (UPDATED)
What liberal media? CBS Edits Obama Speech to Stir Israel Controversy
Right-Wing Media Attack Obama For Announcing Israel Policy Espoused By Bush, Former Israeli Prime Minister. This policy more or less goes back to Clinton and even Bush 41.
Glenn Beck’s strange manufactured outrage may be wearing a little thin, Rabin-Havt On MSNBC Live With Cenk Uygur: Beck Israel Rally Is About “Rebuilding His Brand” After 400 Rabbis Condemned Him
Amy Goodman on Andrew Breitbart and comrades attacks on two college professors didn’t end to well despite all the dust it kicked up. Just as many are catching on to Glenn Beck’s snake-oil messiah impression, they might have finally figured out that Breitbart cannot advance his dangerous anti-American brand of conservatism without being deceptive. The ‘Electronic Brownshirts’
Judy Ancel, a Kansas City, Mo., professor, and her St. Louis colleague were teaching a labor history class together this spring semester. Little did they know, video recordings of the class were making their way into the thriving sub rosa world of right-wing attack video editing, twisting their words in a way that resulted in the loss of one of the professors’ jobs amidst a wave of intimidation and death threats. Fortunately, reason and solid facts prevailed, and the videos ultimately were exposed for what they were: fraudulent, deceptive, sloppily edited hit pieces.
Just a footnote for some visitors I am getting in regards to the concept that states have the right to “nullify” federal law i.e. the theory of nullification. Changes to the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution and the power of the federal government and the laws passed by Congress and the President were addressed as recently as 1958 in Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1. No state may nullify a federal law. States may not enter into a compact which supersedes federal law and the US Constitution , College Sav. Bank v. Fla. Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd. Furthermore, Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishes the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Treaties, and Federal Statutes as “the supreme law of the land.”
James Madison also explains, The Writings of James Madison. Edited by Gaillard Hunt.
James Madison to Mathew Carey, July 27, 1831.
Montpellier, July 27, 1831.
Dear Sir I have recd. your favor of the 21st, with your commencing address to the Citizens of S. Carolina. The strange doctrines and misconceptions prevailing in that quarter are much to be deplored; and the tendency of them the more to be dreaded, as they are patronized by Statesmen of shining talents, and patriotic reputations. To trace the great causes of this state of things out of which these unhappy aberrations have sprung, in the effect of markets glutted with the products of the land, and with the land itself; to appeal to the nature of the Constitutional compact, as precluding a right in any one of the parties to renounce it at will, by giving to all an equal right to judge of its obligations; and, as the obligations are mutual, a right to enforce correlative with a right to dissolve them; to make manifest the impossibility as well as injustice, of executing the laws of the Union, particularly the laws of commerce, if even a single State be exempt from their operation; to lay open the effects of a withdrawal of a Single State from the Union on the practical conditions & relations of the others; thrown apart by the intervention of a foreign nation; to expose the obvious, inevitable & disastrous consequences of a separation of the States, whether into alien confederacies or individual nations; these are topics which present a task well worthy the best efforts of the best friends of their country, and I hope you will have all the success, which your extensive information and disinterested views merit. If the States cannot live together in harmony, under the auspices of such a Government as exists, and in the midst of blessings, such as have been the fruits of it, what is the prospect threatened by the abolition of a Common Government, with all the rivalships collisions and animosities, inseparable from such an event. The entanglements & conflicts of commercial regulations, especially as affecting the inland and other non-importing States, & a protection of fugitive slaves, substituted for the present obligatory surrender of them, would of themselves quickly kindle the passions which are the forerunners of war.