Democrats drew first blood in nomination process (many years ago)

May 19, 2010

Last week my friends argued whether Republicans should change the historical approach to confirming justices as long as they’re reasonably qualified without reference to ideology.

Byron York argues Democrats (led by Charles Schumer) abandoned that nicety long ago. He calls Republicans giving in on Kagan unilateral disarmament.

Some facts (not from the article):

  • Recent Republican Supreme Court nominees Alito and Robert needed no votes from Democrats to be confirmed
  • Democrats mounted a failed filibuster to prevent Alito’s confirmation to come to a vote. A majority of Democrats voted no to end debate.
  • Democrats succeeded in scuttling the nomination of “wise Latino” Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit via a filibuster.

Oh and then there was Robert Bork.

None of the above surprises me. What does surprise me is that I couldn’t recall any of this for use in the discussion last week.

This is where I am well served by my reflexive view that when Democrats are complaining about Republicans. They’re usually saying something about themselves.

Anyway I’d say the evidence is fairly clear the Democrats long ago abandoned any idea the Senate should not judge the ideology of candidates. This doesn’t mean a filibuster of the Kagan nomination is good politics, but it certainly would not be without precedent.


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