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News Democrats End Filibuster for Certain Appointments

  1. Nov 21, 2013 #1
    LINK

    Was wondering people's thoughts on this? In my opinion, this is extraordinarily dangerous and sets a BAD precedent. What happens when this gets applied to SCOTUS nominees and legislation? The Democrats were virulently against it when they were in the minority in 2005 (LINK), and the GOP was threatening it. But the GOP didn't do it. But now it's been done, and now I am worried some will see it as open season to get rid of the filibuster on other things. If the Senate can just change the rules whenever they want, then there may as well not be any rules. And unfortunately, the GOP is not swearing to return the filibuster when in power. Chuck Grassley is saying they will do it to the SCOTUS (LINK).

    While I tend to be more rightwing than leftwing, I think that this is just an overall very bad thing. The House represents the popular will of the people. The Senate is not dependent on populations of states, as each state gets two senators, and is supposed to represent a check on the House, considering the longer-term effects of legislation.
     
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  3. Nov 22, 2013 #2

    SteamKing

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    The House and Senate have always been the arbiters of their rules of operation, excepting of course, what is required by the Constitution. The House Rules Committee is just that; it sets the rules by which the House operates, among other things. The Senate has a Committee on Rules and Administration, which set the rules governing the operation of this body.

    http://www.rules.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=WelcomeMessage

    IMO, what you are seeing in the Senate is a desperate attempt by the Leadership of trying to salvage what they can of their legislative agenda between now and next year's elections. Clearly, Obama has lost a tremendous amount of credibility and popular support due to the disastrous debut of healthcare.gov, and his influence in the Senate is at a low ebb, especially with the Democratic Senators who are running for re-election. If the Democrats lose control of the Senate, I would not be surprised if they tried to re-instate the filibuster by whatever means, or at least make a lot of noise about how powerless they are without this tool. Heaven knows they did not disdain the use of the filibuster or the threat of a filibuster when last in the minority.
     
  4. Nov 22, 2013 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    I was actually in DC the day before the vote, talking to staffers (but mostly on the House side). Lots of hallway conversations on this. Three points were generally made:

    • The 60-vote version gives more power to individual senators and less to party leadership.
    • The 60-vote version gives the President incentive to propose nominees that are acceptable to both parties - and thus Americans as a whole.
    • Harry Reid is delusional if he thinks this won't be used against his party when the pendulum swings in the other direction.

    I suspect Senator Reid is reacting to the negative reaction to Obamacare. He needs something else on the headlines, and it is less of a sure thing that he will hold the Senate in two years, so now is the time to pack the judiciary. These are lifetime appointments, so I think he's calculated that the GOP backlash should they take the Senate in 2014 will be worth getting these appointments through.
     
  5. Nov 22, 2013 #4
    The fact that so many appointees have been blocked by the GOP lead up to this.

    What would be a better percentage than 50% before action was taken; 70%, 80% ??

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...themselves-to-blame-for-reids-nuclear-option/
     
  6. Nov 22, 2013 #5

    mheslep

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    Reid's self-indulgent rationalizations and casual lies probably do indicate delusional thinking. Yes I think it possible he holds the belief that he, and only he, is anointed with the power to forego the filibuster.

    BTW:
    Approval rate of judicial appointments to date:
    Obama: 71%
    Bush: 67%
     
  7. Nov 23, 2013 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    The Chicago Tribune, which opposes the rule change, printed the following quotes:

     
  8. Nov 27, 2013 #7

    BobG

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    The approval rate isn't as relevant as the amount of time required to fill the job.

    Are Republicans really blocking Obama’s judicial nominees at ‘unprecedented’ levels?

    The time required to approve judicial nominees has progressed from:

    45.5 days during Reagan's Presidency
    103.7 days during Bush 41's Presidency
    127.1 days during Clinton's Presidency
    277 days during Bush 43's Presidency
    240.2 days during Obama's Presidency

    Seriously? It takes 8 to 9 months to fill a job?

    Regardless of which party is controlling the White House, the use of the filibuster is out of control. Yes, Republicans will use this against Democrats when Republican Presidents are in office and, yes, future Democratic Presidents will use this against Republicans when Democratic Presidents are in office.

    That's a good thing!

    Yes, sometimes politicians do something good, even if it was just an accident!
     
  9. Nov 27, 2013 #8

    AlephZero

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    Can anybody explain how a precedent could possibly be either legal or illegal? It makes no more sense to me that to say a precedent could be green or purple.

    Of course the action that allegedly set the precedent could be legal or illegal, but that's not what what Reid said.
     
  10. Nov 27, 2013 #9
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/precedent
    An action can be illegal, so I don't see a problem there. But I wonder how you can set any kind of precedent other than a new one. Given that it's contempt for the rule of law, I doubt that it sets a precedent at all. It follows one.
     
  11. Nov 27, 2013 #10

    AlephZero

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    Sure, there is no logical problem with an action being illegal. But an action and a precedent that it might create are two different things.

    If a precedent is illegal, then there must be some legal remedy to take against it. Can you be convicted in court of being in possession of an illegal precedent, or of having created one, or using one to create moral turpitude, or whatever? Even in the USA, I suspect not.
     
  12. Nov 27, 2013 #11

    Office_Shredder

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    This is minor nitpicking - the phrase "illegal precedent" clearly refers to setting a precedent for doing something illegal.
     
  13. Nov 28, 2013 #12
    According to the definition given in post #9, an action may not just create a precedent, an action may be a precedent.
     
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