Bob Dole's op-ed piece in the NYTimes is a astonishingly dishonest. It reads like a typical republican hatchet job, and is remarkable, I suppose, for that reason alone. Dole has assumed the role of senior statesman, and one wouldn't expect him to be so shrill so ungracefully. I'll just point out the obvious stuff. I'm sure there's more.
This tradition has a bipartisan pedigree. When I was the Senate Republican leader, President Bill Clinton nominated two judges to the federal bench - H. Lee Sarokin and Rosemary Barkett - whose records, especially in criminal law, were particularly troubling to me and my Republican colleagues. Despite my misgivings, both received an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor and were confirmed. In fact, joined by 32 other Republicans, I voted to end debate on the nomination of Judge Sarokin. Then, in the very next roll call, I exercised my constitutional duty to offer "advice and consent" by voting against his nomination.
When I was a leader in the Senate, a judicial filibuster was not part of my procedural playbook. Asking a senator to filibuster a judicial nomination was considered an abrogation of some 200 years of Senate tradition.
Such grandstanding is really hard to stomach. Ne'er does Dole mention that more than 40 of Clinton's nominees never even made to the floor because they remained bottled up in the judiciary committee.
This 60-vote standard for judicial nominees has the effect of arrogating power from the president to the Senate. Future presidents must now ask themselves whether their judicial nominees can secure the supermajority needed to break a potential filibuster. Political considerations will now become even more central to the judicial selection process. Is this what the framers intended?
As if political considerations aren't already central to Bush's judicial nominations?
Shut up. There is no 60-vote standard. Extremist nominees, in the minority as they are, will get filibustered. Others don't. Don't pretend like there's a new standard. There isn't. You're lying.
It really is sad to see republicans lying with such clear consciences, and to see that their lies don't even work. Only 26% of Americans think the federal judiciary is too liberal. You sold your soul for nothing, Bob. Kind of pathetic, isn't it.