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April 19, 2005

What's at stake in the judicial filibuster battle

Philip Terzian in The Weekly Standard (emphasis added):
No Senate Republican should misunderstand the Democrats' motive in blocking the nominations of, among others, Justice Janice Brown of the California Supreme Court, Judge Henry Saad of the Michigan Court of Appeals, or Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen: It is power, pure and simple. These, and other jurists, have been nominated by President Bush, favorably evaluated by the American Bar Association, have testified before and been endorsed by the Judiciary Committee, and await final judgment in the Senate. If the Democrats manage to prevent a vote for the sake of political obstruction, they will set a precedent more momentous than a change in Senate rules.

The power of any president, Democrat or Republican, to appoint judges would then depend not on a formal vote of the Senate, but on the consent of 40 partisans determined to inflict maximum political damage. So the stakes for the Bush administration could not be clearer: If Harry Reid and the Democrats can abuse Senate rules to stop their colleagues from voting on appellate nominees, Supreme Court appointments will be next on the list.

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