Senate Democrats Go “Nuclear,” Vote Down Party Lines to Change Senate Rules

nuclear's like a metaphorSenateThe Senate struck down a rule requiring 60 votes to cut off a filibuster of an appeals court judicial nominations, voting 52-48 along party lines to disregard it, effectively overturning more than 200 years of Senate precedent, not only on the judicial filibuster, as the Washington Post notes, but by moving to change the chamber’s rules without the traditional two-thirds majority in support, something previously done only to alter relatively minor rules. It’s rules all the way down.

Democrats insist the rules change won’t affect nominations to the Supreme Court, but Republicans say that’s exactly what they’ll do if a Republican president sends a Republican Senate a nomination for the Supreme Court. The Senate’s fought this fight before without pulling the trigger. The Washington Post provides some context:

Reid’s move is a reversal of his position in 2005, when he was minority leader and fought the GOP majority’s bid to change rules on a party-line vote. A bipartisan, rump caucus led by McCain defused that effort.

At the time, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was the No. 2 GOP leader and helped push the effort to eliminate filibusters on the George W. Bush White House’s judicial selections. Eight years later, McConnell, now the minority leader, has grown publicly furious over Reid’s threats to use the same maneuver.

Democrats contend that this GOP minority, with a handful of senators elected as tea party heroes, has overrun McConnell’s institutional inclinations and served as a procedural roadblock on most rudimentary things. According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1967 through 2012, majority leaders had to file motions to try to break a filibuster of a judicial nominee 67 times — and 31 of those, more than 46 percent — occurred in the last five years of an Obama White House and Democratic majority.

Republicans contend that their aggressive posture is merely a natural growth from a decades-long war over the federal judiciary, noting that what prompted the 2005 rules showdown were at least 10 filibusters of GOP judicial nominees. To date, only a handful of Obama’s judicial selections have gone to a vote and been filibustered by the minority.

The ability of a minority to thwart the agenda and will of the party in power is a feature, not a bug, of the constitutional order, but “majority rules” is, unsurprisingly, popular with the majority.

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  • Brian||

    Oh, shocking: everyone's a hypocrite.

  • JW||

    Don't worry, this will never be used against them.

  • Legate Damar||

    I'm surprised by the timing on this. I wonder how long TEAM BLUE thinks they're going to have control of the Senate. This would have made sense 5 year ago when they projected themselves to have 90 seats by 2016, but now everyone can see the end of their majority.

  • Drake||

    It will be hilarious in 4 years when Republicans are cramming conservative nominees down their throats with Harry's rule.

  • Brett L||

    I assume they think they can conduct all of their appointments and find an excuse to change the rules again before January of 2015.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    At that point it would be up to the GOP to change them back.

  • Brett L||

    Nah, the new Congress won't be sworn in until January.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Technically, for appointments this only matters when there's a Republican in the White House.

  • Brett L||

    I'm assuming that contra the Conservative hysteria, this is not the prelude to the Reichstag fire and that you need to be in the majority in the Senate to change the rules. I believe that the Congress of 2014 will be their only opportunity to do so before the new President gets sworn in January 2017.

    Your points are all true, but kind of talking past mine.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd just make it clear that if they want to play hardball in the Senate, the House can be nasty, too.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    True, but the House doesn't confirm anyone.

    At this point legislative gridlock is in full force until Jan 2015 so the House just gets to pass aborto-laws that go nowhere.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think it's a bad move, as it's exceedingly likely the GOP will control both houses in 2015. And the House can cause all sorts of trouble and could now do it under the cover of responding to the Senate's move. It doesn't matter whether it's legal or not.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're supposed to say HOORAY FOR GRIDLOCK so DC can't pass any more stupid laws.

    This is the best of all political situations - Dem Senate and GOP House.

  • some guy||

    You're supposed to say HOORAY FOR GRIDLOCK so DC can't pass any more stupid laws.

    This is more about gridlock in the Senate, specifically. That gridlock has apparently ended, which is a bad thing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, that's my concern. Anything that slows down crap is good. This was one of those things.

    God knows Obama's appointees have been some of the worst ever, so why would I want a process that helps them along?

  • #||

    How the hell is removing a procedual barrier to doing shit increasing gridlock?

  • Enough About Palin||

    Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

    Ingredients
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    2/3 cup packed brown sugar
    9 slices pineapple in juice (from 14-oz can), drained
    9 maraschino cherries without stems, if desired
    1 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup shortening
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup milk
    1 egg

    Directions
    1 Heat oven to 350°F. In 9-inch square pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Arrange pineapple slices over brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice.
    2 In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.
    3 Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately place heatproof serving plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake a few minutes so brown sugar mixture can drizzle over cake; remove pan. Serve warm. Store cake loosely covered.

  • Rasilio||

    "In 9-inch square pan"

    WTF is the wrong with you? Didn't you know that Pineapple Upsidedown cake should be made in a Cast Iron Skillet?

  • ||

    WTF is the wrong with you? Didn't you know that Pineapple Upsidedown cake should be made in a Cast Iron Skillet?

    Inorite? EAP is the world's greatest monster.

  • Killazontherun||

    , this is not the prelude to the Reichstag fire

    Republicans with their unterschicht conspiracy theories. There was no Reichstag fire, the place doesn't exist. Neither does Benghazi!

  • Adam330||

    I'm sure the Reps would never think of using this for normal legislation.

  • Loki||

    I assume they think they can conduct all of their appointments and find an excuse to change the rules again before January of 2015.

    Only problem is they've also just set the precedent of changing Senate rules with only a majority instead of 2/3s. So if the Repub's win the Senate in the mid-terms they'll be able to change it right back if they also win the white house in 2016. Of course at the point you can expect the Dems to pitch a colossal fit without even a hint of self awareness or irony.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The msm and leftest social media propagandist will throw the biggest fit following whatever the dnc talking points are and their infintile followers will buy right into it. Because when the dems change the rules it's for a noble cause. And no, this is not an endorsement of team red.

  • Aresen||

    This^535.

    TBS, now the Dems have done it, why would the GOP change it back once they have the whip hand?

    The msm and social media howling will be about the GOP 'ignoring tradition', disirregardlesslywise of the fact they done it to themselves.

  • soflarider||

    What was said was that if the Dems lose the majority, they will change it back before they lose their majority, leaving the new Rep. majority the task of doing what the Dems just did.

  • Aresen||

    In which case, I think it would be a very hard sell for Team Blue.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The republican president with the republican majority is going to suck for libertarianism, again. Progressives are mostly to blame.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, we do seem to lose, regardless of party. Why is that?

  • DarrenM||

    Yes, we do seem to lose, regardless of party. Why is that?

    I guess you just have to figure out which way you lose less.

  • pmains||

    From William English Walling's "Progressivism and After", published in 1914:

    [T]he progressives have captured two of the three parties of the United States [Democrat and Progressive] and hold the whip hand in the third [, the GOP].

    The Progressive movement was very successful in taking over the machinery of both major political parties in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the 1896 Democratic Party Convention, small-government types (the Grover Cleveland Bourbon Democrats) have been trying to find a home. Progress has been slow and uneven.

  • creech||

    "Today, Chief Justice Rick Santorum cast his vote with the majority in a 5-4 decision to (fill in the blanks)"

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I was going to say the same thing. Makes you wonder, what do they know that we don't?

  • DarrenM||

    Makes you wonder, what do they know that we don't?

    That Obamacare is going to be wonderfully popular?

  • SweatingGin||

    They wouldn't be so brazen as to change it back in the lame duck after '14 election, would they? That would be hilarious.

    Or it's that much of a "get people not talking about Obamacare" move.

  • ||

    If they thought they were going to have a filibuster proof majority it wouldn't make sense.

    This only makes sense if they either think (a) they are going to lose the senate so they better get these nominees rammed through soon, or (b) they will retain a slim majority in the senate indefinitely.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That seems incredibly unlikely right now. I don't know how they did it, but they've managed to scare most of the country.

  • ||

    You don't know how they did it? You must have missed this ObamaCare thing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I thought they'd jumped the shark and were going to lose across the board in 2012. American tolerance for stupidity, corruption, dishonesty, and evil is quite amazing, really.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Sometimes I am wistful for your vision of America where Florida didn't go to Obama.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Still utterly shocked by that. The same state has had long-term GOP control of the legislature and most of the rest of the government.

  • some guy||

    Still utterly shocked by that. The same state has had long-term GOP control of the legislature and most of the rest of the government.

    Many of Obama's supporters wouldn't know their state senator if he jumped up and bit them. These were single-issue voters and the issue was hipness.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, we can't really predict what the idiot mob is going to do in any given election year.

  • Redmanfms||

    I thought they'd jumped the shark and were going to lose across the board in 2012. American tolerance for stupidity, corruption, dishonesty, and evil is quite amazing, really.

    Having all but one news outlet covering for the Dems and that one that doesn't being almost comically stupid and obsessed with inconsequential trivia sure as shit helped.

  • Tony||

    They want to get nominees on the bench while they can, and Republicans are not going to gauge their future action based on what Democrats did in the past.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    lol - because politicians forget when they get screwed over?

    But ignore that - answer this - why is it minority rights for Senate Dems only includes minorities with the "right views"?

    Meh - I'll answer it - because they're statists looking to build a dictatorship - get rid of all that pesky voting from stupid people who need to be told what insurance policies they have to purchase.

  • Pro Libertate||

    My reaction exactly. They'd have had some good arguments against the GOP doing this if they'd refrained. Instead, they do it now, handing the GOP a magic wand.

    The way things are looking, the GOP may have the votes to skip this whole issue come the next election.

  • prolefeed||

    I think they just proved that both of the major parties are The Stupid Party.

    And the Evil Party.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, I've never understood calling either just one of those things.

  • JW||

    That's why one is the Stupider Party and the other the Eviler party.

    Even so, I always get them mixed up.

  • some guy||

    The way things are looking, the GOP may have the votes to skip this whole issue come the next election.

    Not enough Senate seats are up for that to happen. Fortunately the GOP has plenty of time to screw things up before they have a legit chance at owning everything.

  • Taco||

    The employer mandate kicks in a month before the mid-terms. Do you see what 5 million cancelled policies is doing to the Dems? I can't even fathom what 50 million cancelled policies and 25 million layoffs 5 weeks before the mid-terms will do to Dems. We could see huge Republican majorities.

  • BigT||

    Isn't this all about replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Chuckie Shumer? Or maybe replacing Kennedy with Hillary?

  • PapayaSF||

    Doesn't apply to SC nominees.

  • wwhorton||

    So, we're really only about, what, five years away from the brownshirts enforcing one party rule under a benevolent dictator? Maybe four?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Four more years!

  • DarrenM||

    I don't know why they have to be brownshirts. That's racist!

  • CE||

    What do you mean, "benevolent"?

  • Jquip||

    Meh, it's always been odd that you need more votes to take a vote, then you do to pass the latter of those votes. Which is almost as strange as stating that a filibuster is not a long-winded monologue but filing a memorandum of understanding that there could have been one.

  • Brett L||

    The ability of a minority to thwart the agenda and will of the party in power is a feature, not a bug, of the constitutional order, but “majority rules” is, unsurprisingly, popular with the majority.

    I disagree with this statement. The Constitution is pretty explicit that the Senate gets to set whatever rules it wants for conducting its business.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Right, and that is what they are doing. A new majority can undo this.

  • some guy||

    The Senate does set its own rules and up until now this particular rule has been a "feature" for those who prefer limited government. There's nothing contradictory there.

  • Brett L||

    I guess I read it differently. I can see that.

  • Lord Humungus||

    You know who else wanted to go nuclear?

  • mr simple||

    Maj. Vic Deakins?

  • Brett L||

    Col. Ripper?

  • Tonio||

    Gen. Ripper.

  • ||

    John von Neumann?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ryan Adams.

  • BakedPenguin||

    General Buck Turgidson?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Semi-Pwnd by Brett.

  • ||

    Pere Ubu?

  • ||

    Arcturus Mengsk!

  • ||

    Nerd!

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Every time I see that word I hear Homer Simpson saying, "It's pronounced new-que-lur".

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Curt Jurgens?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Trashcan man?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    +1 M-O-O-N

  • Loki||

    Robert Oppenheimer?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Atom

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Douglas MacArthur?

  • Ice Nine||

    Hyman Rickover?

  • some guy||

    JFK?

  • fish||

    I can't believe nobody said Curtis LeMay!?

  • Robert||

    Leeuwenhoek?

  • DontShootMe||

    Harry Truman

  • Lord Humungus||

    you're all wieners winners!

  • Brian||

    Harry Truman?

  • Brian||

    Doh!

  • Ted S.||

    Niels Bohr?

  • BigT||

    Dr. Strangelove?

  • Loki||

    I wonder if they'll remember this the next time they try to filibuster a Republican's judicial appointment and can't because they changed the rules.

    Oh wait, that's right, they're delusional enough to actually believe that they'll have the white house and a senate majority forever.

  • mr simple||

    But they're fighting the good fight; republicans are just obstructionists.

  • mr simple||

    majority leaders had to file motions to try to break a filibuster of a judicial nominee 67 times — and 31 of those, more than 46 percent — occurred in the last five years of an Obama White House and Democratic majority.

    I think someone needs to look up em dash usage rules again.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I think someone needs to look up em dash usage rules again.


    Fuck that. In libertopia, there are no em dash usage rules.

  • mr simple||

    Libertopia does not mean anarchy! This is not 'Nam, dude. There are rules.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Drink

  • The Late P Brooks||

    No more DO NOTHING CONGRESS!

    Hooooraaaaaah1

    Roll up your sleeves and get to work, boys.

  • ||

    And girls. Let's not backtrack on Girl Power.

  • sarcasmic||

    This just in from the White House.

    Those cancellation notices were actually renewal notices for better insurance plans. The evil corporations only worded it wrong because they're racist.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Actually, all renewals are in effect cancellations. No one ever gets to "keep their policy" for more than a year.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've got a nasty cold right now. Earlier today I coughed so bad a little poop came out. Cleaning it up was preferable to reading your comments.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Sorry about the dose of reality. I am sure you had plans for the Peanuts to yuck is up on that one.

  • sarcasmic||

    *cough cough*

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|11.21.13 @ 1:40PM|#
    "Sorry about the dose of reality."...

    Your sleazy propaganda is always welcome here; it tells us what sort of lies we'll run into other places.

  • #||

    That is PB's one angle of usefullness. Alnog with Tony, it's opposition talking point research.

  • SugarFree||

    Your sleazy propaganda is always welcome here; it tells us what sort of lies we'll run into other places.

    And having bums splatterfart in your face is a great way to build up your immune system.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|11.21.13 @ 1:31PM|#
    "Actually, all renewals are in effect cancellations. No one ever gets to "keep their policy" for more than a year."

    It's amazing you don't get dizzy.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That it has the mental capacity to breathe unassisted simply amazes me.

  • ||

    Somehow I don't think this line of argument is going to work for the millions of people who are now being forced to buy maternity coverage and have deductibles twice as high at twice the price.

  • Sevo||

    But shreek got that line off some trusted lefty web site or other!
    I notice he's not pushing the 'junk policies' BS; I guess that got embarrassing after Obo the 1st made his royal decree.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, I believe in you want a junk policy you should have the freedom to buy one.

    Caveat emptor!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So then you have to concede the ACA is a bad thing then as it prohibits this, right?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Actually, the ACA does not prevent you from buying a junk policy. They just cannot be sold on the exchange or as qualifying health insurance policies.

    Anyway, there are quite a few "bad things" in the ACA. There are also some very good things.

    I would not have put the two mandates in, fwiw.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -the ACA does not prevent you from buying a junk policy

    So why are all these people getting cancellation notices? I think the White House has admitted they knew that the law's provisions would mean that certain policies would no longer be sold, right?

  • Sevo||

    "There are also some very good things."
    There are none.
    Whenever a third-party asshole sticks a nose in a free exchange between two people, no good comes of it.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Actually, the ACA does not prevent you from buying a junk policy. They just cannot be sold on the exchange or as qualifying health insurance policies.

    Wrong. Non-grandfathered policies both inside and outside of the exchanges must include "Essential Health Benefits".

  • ||

    Also, you will have to pay the penalty if you buy the junk policy.

  • Juice||

    Actually, the ACA does not prevent you from buying a junk policy.

    What do you call the Bronze plans? Awesome?

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|11.21.13 @ 1:57PM|#
    "No, I believe in you want a junk policy you should have the freedom to buy one."

    Define "junk policy" shreek.

  • Dweebston||

    Shorter version of you're just too dumb to trust with money.

  • Loki||

    people who are now being forced to buy maternity coverage

    But what if you get hit by a bus and impregnated? You'll be glad you have that maternity coverage then.

  • Andrew S.||

    I'm so proud to have been part of the genesis of that one.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    No, you've got it all wrong. It's "What if you get hit by a bus and thus your wife gets impregnated?"

  • Loki||

    No one ever gets to "keep their policy" for more than a year.

    Yes, Obama was lying when he claimed that if you liked your policy [in 2010] you can keep your policy, despite the fact that the grandfather rules only allowed people to keep policies as long as nothing changed between then and now. We've covered all this at length already, try to keep up.

  • some guy||

    Technicalities.

    Obama wasn't wrong, he was just an asshole.

  • Brian||

    Palin's Buttplug:

    Actually, all renewals are in effect cancellations. No one ever gets to "keep their policy" for more than a year.

    Ok, then this implies that insurance companies have never cancelled anyone's insurance, even after they got a medical condition.

    I think I vaguely remember progressives whining about this.

    I think you need to go straighten them out. Someone's thinking wrong thoughts. This sounds like a job for the Buttplug!

  • Adam330||

    So when Obama said if you like your policy, you can keep it, he actually meant that he was going to hold back the sands of time so that next year would never arrive?

  • OneOut||

    For anyone who can stop the rise of the oceans a little time control is no big deal.

  • Juice||

    Actually, all renewals are in effect cancellations. No one ever gets to "keep their policy" for more than a year.

    That's why my "grandfathered" plan is actually truly gradnfathered...until April.

  • Raven Nation||

    OT: if you read the story about the cargo 'plane landing at the wrong airport, it's supposed to be taking off soon (on a runway about 2/3 of the size). Live feed here:

    http://fox4kc.com/on-air/live-stream-two/

  • tarran||

    This is hysterically funny. Watching local news sausage being made.

  • Raven Nation||

    No kidding: "Kathy! Kathy! Kathy, Kathy, Kathy, Kathy!"

  • Sevo||

    The two guys out there; checking for a flat?

  • Raven Nation||

    Yeah, I couldn't figure out what they were doing either.

  • Sevo||

    Just dawned on me; there's no N-number on the tail of that thing.

  • tarran||

    There is... it's very tiny.

  • Sevo||

    With this sort of delay, I'm guessing the folks use to work for United.

  • tarran||

    If they don't censure the camera guy for his bitching, I am going to be pleasantly surprised.

  • Raven Nation||

    Holy crap, that got off the ground in a hurry.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    impressive

  • Sevo||

    I'll bet you they went through that thing and cleaned out everything not required to fly.
    Hey, pilot! Leave the loose change on the dresser.

  • some guy||

    And he's going to end up landing on fumes, I'll bet.

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, they used the loose change to buy 3-3/4 gals of fuel...

  • Outlaw||

    That was awesome.

    I always feel proud of some of my fellow primates when I watch planes taking off.

    Suck it, nature! We can fly if we want!

  • some guy||

    How routinely we toss hundreds of tons of metal across the continent is very impressive.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Clowncrats are really doubling down on stupid here. Reid has managed to table every vote that matters except this one. Barrycares blows up in their faces, so first thing they do is institutionalize the coming wing-nut majority's ability to short-circuit Barry that much more his last two extra-lame duck years.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And score one more for the inability to see beyond first order effects. How do these folks think absolute majority rule is going to suit the when the Republicans regain control? Or do they think that the Republicans will restore the old rules, just to be sporting?

  • Loki||

    They're delusional enough to believe they'll always be in power.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It does not make much sense, so much so that I really think it is all just personal frustration on the part of Reid and the Democrat Senators.

  • mr simple||

    I don't think Reid thinks more than one move ahead.

  • Restoras||

    Well it isn't call the Stupid Party for nothing.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Does anyone know why the GOP was filibustering this Millet lady's nomination?

  • Brett L||

    He likes her, they don't?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It seems to not even rise to that level:

    -The D.C. Circuit court has three vacancies, including the seat that Wilkins has been nominated to fill, but Republicans have said in recent years that the court’s caseload is not heavy enough to warrant appointments ahead of other appeals court circuits, especially several in Western states with more significant vacancies.

    That seems like an uncommonly silly reason to filibuster in my opinion.

  • Brett L||

    I may be mis-remembering but sometime around Bush I or maybe as late as Clinton's 2nd term, one side started blocking well-qualified nominees (ie, lawyers in good standing who had no particularly heinous moral shortcomings) on ideological grounds, and essentially the openings only get filled in spurts when there's a Christmas tree bill. Its very inside baseball.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I can get blocking a nominee because you oppose something about them or their views. But blocking nominees because you think other vacancies should be filled first just does not seem 'filibuster worthy' to me, and that kind of thing is why the filibuster has gotten such a bad reputation with the general public.

  • prolefeed||

    Really? You think that saying that scarce resources should be allocated to the areas where they are most in need is not a principle worth defending by the opposition party?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    In the context of judicial appointments to circuit courts it is not only not worthy of a filibuster, but is profoundly silly. The GOP is basically saying 'we will pass on your judges, but we want to pass on some other judges over here first, and we are not going to do the former until we get a chance to do the latter.' Perhaps that would make sense to recommend to the White House, but a filibuster? That is exactly the kind of overuse that makes the procedure lose credibility.

  • ||

    If their time is being allocated to government work, then it's not exactly being allocated to where it is most needed regardless.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Even if that is true that is not something you filibuster. 'Hey, we are not going to let you staff these positions over here until you let us let you staff these positions over there' is hardly what the filibuster was created for.

  • Brett L||

    Like I say, I don't recall the genesis, but probably it started with Robert Bork and (again, this is top of my head) the 90s Republican Resurgence saw them going "we can play this game, too, only for all federal judge seats". And the Dems were only too happy to take their turn thwarting Bush II's appointees to the point where it became business as usual for the party in the Senate opposite the President's party to oppose basically most of the appointees. Both sides are equally complicit.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Oh, I am sure both sides have used the filibuster too much, just commenting that this current reason is sillier than usual.

  • Taco||

    Bo Cara Esq:

    The DC Circuit is the appellate court which handles almost all regulatory cases. Currently it is evenly split between Republican and Democratic nominated judges. Obama is appointing 3 more judges, just to give himself an overwhelming majority, so he can win all regulatory appeals. The case-load for these judges apparently does not justify them being in the court, but it would really help the administration out if they could get continually rubber-stamped in the 2nd most important appellate court in the land.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    She is one of those scary "Secular Humanists" - the bane of conservatives.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That appears to be incorrect

    -Millett spoke about how her approach to the law would not be affected by her strong Christian faith, after using her opening statement to introduce the pastor of her church along with her family members in the audience.

    "My religious faith is the biggest part of who I am and I’m proud of that and it is something that’s incredibly important to me," Millett said. "But our constitution is a very precious system of justice that it creates. And it creates judges to decide cases based not on personal views, not on background, but based on rule of law."

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/.....versy.html

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I stand somewhat corrected.

    decide cases ...... based on rule of law.

    That would make her a secularist but (the rest of your link) makes her probably not a humanist.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think Justice Scalia would have no problem saying he is a person of faith but that he would decide cases on the law and not that faith, so I do not think her statement makes her a secularist.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Scalia would say that but it would not be true. He judiciates for his religion before the Constitution.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well, we do not know what she would do yet.

  • Restoras||

    Citation?

  • R C Dean||

    Scalia would say that but it would not be true. He judiciates for his religion before the Constitution.

    Naturally, you have a link to support this assertion.

  • Lord Humungus||

    but - according to you - you are always right, PB. Thwarted again by your own stupidity.

  • Loki||

    NEEDZ MOAR CHRISTFAGZ!!!!!!1!!!1111!!!!

  • BakedPenguin||

    They prefer Rice ladies?

  • robc||

    Because they can?

  • Wintermute||

    Excuse me, sir, but any supermajority "features of the constitutional order" are spelled out explicitly in the Constitution itself.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    It's refreshing that something Team Blue is doing wrong is at least 100% constitutional.

    I'm going to consider it progress.

  • R C Dean||

    What about the provision of the Constitution that empowers the Senate to set its own rules? Does that count?

  • setTHEline||

    Serious question: Why do people seem to think that the GOP will take over both houses by 2016? Obviously Obamacare is a giant mistake, but most people have 10 second memories and are just going to vote for more free stuff when the Dems promise it. Where do you people see the GOP winning Senate seats?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Obamacare will be a continuing, ongoing disaster.

  • robc||

    This.

  • Drake||

    Except now it can be completely repealed with 218 GOP House members, 51 GOP senators, and a 1 Republican President.

  • robc||

    Why do people seem to think that the GOP will take over both houses by 2016?

    The House will be the easier of the two.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    OK, that was funny.

  • sarcasmic||

    Everyone hates your Congressmen, but theirs should be reelected.

  • Aresen||

    This.

    Also, I don't think there are enough Senate seats in play to swing it to the GOP. The distibution of the Team Blue/Team Red support makes the number of Senate seats that might swing quite small. It's close, but remember that the GOP has to get to at least 51 seats while Biden is VP, considering that the two "independents" tend to go with the Dems.

    And, if Chris Christie (or some other Team Red stooge) is sworn in on Jan 20/17 with a GOP senate and house, you can kiss liberalization of the drug laws goodbye for the foreseeable future.

  • Robert||

    Unfortunately I think you can kill liberaliz'n of the drug laws goodbye for the foreseeable future anyway, because marijuana's being taken off the table. That's happening just gradually enough that there won't be momentum to carry it into other "drugs", so prohibition will settle down again, minus cannabis, for a generation.

  • #||

    Next year Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota are all open dem seats that have a heavy chance of going GOP. In addition, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina and Alaska all have volnerable incumbants. And if it turns out to be something of at least a minny wave, Iowa and Michigan are open dem seats and New Hampshire becomes a volnerable incumbant, and maybe even Oregon. While the GOP has no seats that it needs to defend except maybe Georgia if the GOP nominates an idiot that says something stupid.

    So thats 7 that are winnable in a neutral election year with an additional 4 that could be won if it starts to turn into even a modest sized wave.

    The GOP needs to win 6 to take the senate. It perfectly possible for them to do so given the map.

  • #||

    Oh and I'll add Colorado to the list if a wave builds a bit. So 12 seats potentially takeable.

  • Aresen||

    "While the GOP has no seats that it needs to defend except maybe Georgia if the GOP nominates an idiot that says something stupid."

    So, you're saying it's certain that the GOP will lose Georgia? ;P

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The seats up for election in 2014 are the ones that last were up in 2008, when the Dems swept the table and got a filibuster proof majority. There are quite a few vulnerable seats there that went to Dems amid anti-Bush hysteria.

    Of course the 2012 map was strongly GOP too (the Dems also picked up red state seats in 2006) but we know what happened there. Dems need a 2014 Akin real bad.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Because voters punished the GOP unmercilessly for Bush/Cheney in 06/08. If things suck enough they will punish Dems likewise.

    But with the markets at record highs, profits up, 4 million new jobs, and low energy prices Obamacare would have to really suck for the Dems to reach Dubya depths.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    High stock markets do not help when unemployment is so high. Add the ACA to the mix and I do not see any way, absent some type of 'legitimate rape' gaffe, that the GOP does not win seats in NC, LA, AK and AR, for starters.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Those four are toss-ups for now. However, Montana and South Dakota are nearly certain GOP flips.

    By the way, UE was just as high in 2012 and the GOP lost Senate seats.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Those four are toss-ups for now.

    If I were a wagering man I would bet you quite a bit they will not be 'toss ups' at election time.

    -UE was just as high in 2012 and the GOP lost Senate seats.

    Well, I did say 'absent some type of 'legitimate rape' gaffe.' Also, see Romney, Willard.

  • Andrew S.||

    The GOP lost senate seats in 2012 because of the people who showed up to vote for Obama and who voted straight down the party line.

    They won't have that vote in 2014.

  • sarcasmic||

    I know that in my state I will vote against the Democrats, and as usual the outcome of the election will be the inverse of my ballot.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Do you get an LP candidate on the ballot for House and Senate races where you are at?

  • sarcasmic||

    I generally get a choice between an ass or a rino.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Ugh, that is a shame.

    I really wish the LP could field more 'down ticket' candidates across the country.

  • sarcasmic||

    As long as the LP keeps portraying themselves as a bunch of stoned anarchists, they will continue to receive ridicule instead of votes.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I do not see them portraying themselves that way.

    The LP vote totals seem to me to be more negatively impacted by the constant attempts by the 'big two' and their friends in the media to marginalize them. See the Virginia Governor's race for example. Sarvis polled as high as 11% at times but was excluded from all the debates. A good showing in a debate could easily have doubled or tripled his numbers and overcome the 'do not throw your vote away' tactic used by the 'big two.' So of course he had to be shut out of the debates.

  • sarcasmic||

    The winner-take-all system in this country encourages a binary party system. Not saying I think the parliamentary system is better, but it's a fact. An effective third party will only result in a loss for the binary party closest to the third (see Perot, Nader).

  • Ted S.||

    We really need Instant Runoff Voting.

  • sarcasmic||

    We really need Instant Runoff Voting.

    I used to feel that way as well, but this got me thinking otherwise.

  • CE||

    No voting at all would be even better. You want my stuff, make me an offer. You want my money, show me where in the signed contract I said I would give it to you and on what terms.

  • robc||

    As Kenneth Arrow showed, every method of making collective choices introduces some arbitrariness into the outcome. Such arbitrariness is unavoidable; it is not unique to the method of general-election/runoff-election.

    From your link.

    I still prefer IRV to our current form of voting. STV might be preferable to IRV, but would require multi-candidate districts. I think it would be amusing if every state did their House elections that way.

    The number of absolute cranks that would get elected in California would be awesome.

  • Aresen||

    When we see a politician, we run them off?

  • sarcasmic||

    *cough cough*

  • some guy||

    4 million new jobs

    The Employment rate is very low right now. Those 4 million jobs don't even keep pace. If the labor participation rate was the same as a decade ago, the official unemployment number would be around 12%. These facts aren't reflected in the official "7.X%" that gets tossed around every month, but the average working stiff still feels it.

  • #||

    Buttplug has delusionally told himself that the economy is doinw really well right now.

  • R C Dean||

    unmercilessly

    So, mercifully?

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's just too damned much--the prolonged economic malaise, the ACA, scandalpalooza, etc. . .I don't see all of this being ignored anymore.

  • Loki||

    scandalpalooza

    Those are all fake, wingnut radio, faux-news scandals, not real ones. /Shriek

  • Chief Justice John Jay||

    And I think we can also expect turnout among many of the groups the Democrats rely on—especially young people—to be really low. It's not like a ton of them are going to suddenly change their minds about progressivism, but I just don't see the Democrats getting them fired up at anywhere near 2008 or 2012 numbers. And in a midterm year, that's already an uphill battle.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Governor McAuliffe says hi.

    How does any of that not apply to the VA governor race that America just lost?

  • prolefeed||

    The GOP doesn't need to "take over" the House, they just need to hold it.

    As for 2014, the following Red or swing states have a Democratic Senator up for election:

    Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Virginia, and North Carolina.

    Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire are also not solidly Blue states.

  • prolefeed||

    Whoops, put mistakenly Iowa in both lists, when it lately is kind of Blue-ish rather than swing.

  • Irish||

    Michigan has a Republican congress and governor, Colorado is currently butchering Democratic state senators for their gun control votes, and Iowa voted for a Republican president only 8 years ago.

    The Democrats also not only have to defend all of those seats, but they actually have a retiring Senator in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, and Michigan. So they aren't even going to have an incumbent in any of those elections.

    Do you really think they're keeping Montana, South Dakota, or West Virginia? I don't. That means all the Republicans would actually have to do is beat Mark Pryor in Arkansas and win Louisiana and Alaska.

    That's not just possible. I actually think the Republicans will retake the Senate. I can't imagine they don't at least win five seats and split.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The GOP had an extremely favorable Senate map in 2012, too, and had a net loss of one seat. I wouldn't count on anything at this point. I'm sure the LP will be happy to do their spoiler thing in AK and MT again in 2014 and let the Dem into office by a plurality.

  • Loki||

    The Repub's currently hold 45 seats. So all they need is to win six more seats next year to have a majority. With Obamacare being such an ongoing slow motion train wreck it's possible that they could. I'm not going to hold my breath, but it could happen.

  • Drake||

    Because Obamacare did the exact opposite - it's taking things away from people. Instead, it is requiring people to buy really expensive stuff or get a big fine.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    This.

    And 2013 is only the beginning. October 2014 is when the employer mandate/dropping of coverage letters come out...just in time for the MidTermpocalypse.

  • fish||

    5 weeks oughta be long enough to really get those likely to lose their employer plans worked up into a furious lather!

    I really thought TEAM RED would go the way of the Whigs first....I guess not.

    ....and a little community organizer shall lead them.....

  • CE||

    You mean MidTerMageddon.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Um, no. If it looks bad for the election, BO will grant another waiver for a year. It's good to be the king.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obamacare has not "done" anything yet. It is fully effective in 2014.

    If you mean hysteria about it is high then I would agree.

  • fish||

    Keep whistling past that graveyard Fecal Demon!

  • Drake||

    You ain't seen nothing yet!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Obamacare has not "done" anything yet. It is fully effective in 2014.

    This is disingenuous. If a law, to go into effect Jan. 1, passes banning X, then when people who sell X start to stop doing business in X in December in anticipation of the law going into effect, then that law has 'done' something.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Yeah yeah, and right wing talk show hosts will continue to say that earlier this year the republicans didn't raise taxes, that they merely allowed the Bushbama tax cuts to expire then be re-enacted on everyone but the high earners.

    Squint and turn your head sideways, but bullshit is still bullshit.

  • Chief Justice John Jay||

    Yes, this is the rare government debacle that (a) will affect a substantial number of people in very obvious ways, and (b) can be entirely blamed on a single party.

    I've seen some chatter on MSNBC about how unpopular the Republicans are right now, which of course their pundits take as a sign that there will be no landslide next year, because I guess they assume people will default to the Democrats. But I think it's that people are unhappy with the current Republicans, and will be looking to replace many of them with different (better?) ones.

  • Irish||

    The low popularity of Republicans is the result of people who vote Republican hating John Boehnor and various other RINOs.

    Those people are still going to vote Republican, so the popularity of the party isn't actually relevant. The Republicans have been winning swing voters the last few elections and have just gotten beaten with voter turnout.

  • pmains||

    For starters, in the seven states that Romney (Willard Freaking Romney!) won but elected Democratic senators in the 2008 (D) wave election. There are probably other opportunities as well.

  • Sigivald||

    Fair's fair.

    The Senate gets to make its own internal rules, always has.

    As Wintermute says and contra the suggestion at the end of the post, there is nothing in the Constitution that required the Senate to work the way it did, and let a minority stop the majority in these cases.

    (I think I agree that it was a good way to run the Senate, but that's another matter than it being a Constitutional requirement.)

    Of course, now that they've thrown out this ancient tradition, they'll get laughed at in the face when they demand it be put back the second they're in the minority. Which I absolutely expect to happen.

  • Sevo||

    "Of course, now that they've thrown out this ancient tradition, they'll get laughed at in the face when they demand it be put back the second they're in the minority. Which I absolutely expect to happen."

    Not so sure. Dems seem to have a pass on hypocracy, at least by the larger media outlets.
    See "You can keep your..." for example.

  • ||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    When the Republican Senate Did the Responsible Thing under Bush and kept the filibuster even though the Democrats were using the filibuster for bad purposes,* I as a Responsible Conservative applauded the Republicans. I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back for standing for Tradition, Proper Legislative Deliberation, and Counter-Majoritarian Institutions. And I knew that now the Democrats wouldn't have a precedent which they could invoke against the Republicans when they (Democrats) got a Senate majority.

    I realize now that I'm a moron (you guys could have told me that, of course). The Democrats wouldn't be restrained by something so silly as tradition and precedent. Now that they no longer have to defend lynching and Jim Crow, Dems have no further use for the filibuster and it seems they were just waiting for the right time in the news cycle to throw the filibuster overboard. So now that they need a Bright Shiny Thing to dangle in front of Obamacare-traumatized voters, they say hey, let's abolish two centuries' worth of rules and precedent!

    This makes me want a Republican President and Senate so bad...so they can make the abolition of the filibuster complete and official and put in some Supreme Court justices by 51 votes. I'm not talking about more Kennedys, Souters or Robertses, I'm talking about more Janice Rogers Browns.

    *Democrats using the filibuster for bad purposes - now that's a new one!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, Justice Brown would turn my frowny face to a smile.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Brown lost me with her vote for the NSA wiretapping.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Find me a more consistently libertarian judge on the federal bench, and we can talk.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Fair enough, tallest midget problem there.

  • Pro Libertate||

    She's pretty good, all told. Keep in mind, too, that judges can end up with bad decisions when they get bad cases or are forced to compromise with others on the panel. Or they just have blind spots on some issues.

    She's been pretty consistently anti-government, which is an all-too-rare quality.

  • Robert||

    Heck, why stop there? Put in 10 more sup. ct. justices ASAP. Or maybe 20 or 30 just to make sure.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -have to defend lynching and Jim Crow

    Given that the most notable figure in the latter was Strom Thurmond, who subsequently changed his party, that line probably has less power than you likely thought it would.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Wow, that totally invalidates the entire history of civil-rights filibusters, from the Democratic filibuster of the Force Act of 1890 (approved by Republicans in the House but killed by Democratic filibuster in the Senate), the Dyer bills of the 1920s (endorsed by Republican President Warren Harding, approved by Republican votes in the House, killed by Democratic filibuster in the Senate), the anti-lynching laws of the 1930s (see below for Democratic Senator Theodore Bilbo filibustering one of these), etc.

    You're like a historical genius or something.

    Theodore Bilbo filibustering his Democratic butt off:

    http://www.historynet.com/a-sh.....buster.htm

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Perhaps you are a genius at history, but you may want to bone up on grammar. Note I said: 'most notable figure in the latter' so all your anti-lynching examples are irrelevant.

    Would you like to argue that Strom Thurmond was not the most notable figure involved in filibustering Civil Rights Act?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Would you like to [description of obscene act omitted] my [name or organ omitted]?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Eduard, I know social conservatives can be uptight about sexual acts, but if they are for you the equivalent of arguing about Strom Thurmond's place in the opposition to civil rights then there is little wonder!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I suppose I could figure out what you mean if I tried hard enough.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    PS, Strom Thurmond fought lynching as governor of South Carolina, but that was when he was still a Democrat. Of course, his filibuster of the 1957 Civil Rights bill was also when he was still a democrat.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well, you are the time traveling attribution guy, do the modern day Democrats get credit for Thurmond's fight against lynching as well as blame for his filibuster of the CRA, or what is it?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You raise some interesting points. Have you considered [name of act omitted]ing yourself?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -[name of act omitted]ing

    Well, we know it is not 'aborting' coming from you ;)

  • Fatty Bolger||

    "When he dies, they'll have to beat his pecker down with a baseball bat in order to close the coffin lid." - John Tower

    It's a damn shame nobody did it while he was still alive.

  • Response||

    I was watching Obama on tv explaining his approval of the nuclear option... he said there was a subpar minority in the Senate.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    It's only like 5% of voters getting screwed anyway - what's 5%?

    Unless it's gun deaths... then .00001% is HUGE.

    Which is to say it's like the filibuster and Zimmerman and everything else - if it's not working out how it should, they just need more government power and fewer individual freedoms to get us back on track.

    A couple hundred years of freedom which built the most prosperous nation in the world was just hell on earth to live through - but it was only recently, at this exact time in history, where we have people smart enough, and moral enough, to be trusted with complete power.

    After all, the constitution is a living document, no?

    /sarc

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Sorry if someone already posted this:

    Biden railing against the "nuclear" option in 2005

    Priceless!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Harry Reid once said that removing the filibuster would destroy the country. So I guess we know why he did it.

  • Andrew S.||

    I think you went beyond SF'ing that link. Is that Wartying the link? is that even possible?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That's twice today.

    Take two.

  • SusanM||

    How's this for consistency:

    “Watch the vice president ignore – he’s not required to look to an unelected officer — but that has been the practice for 218 years,” Biden said of Vice President Dick Cheney. “He will make the ruling, which is a lie. A lie about the rule.”

    “This is what’s really going on here, the majority doesn’t want to hear what others have to say even if it’s the truth,” Biden continued. “The nuclear option abandons America’s sense of fair play.”

    “The threat to change Senate rules is a raw abuse of power and will destroy the very checks and balances our founding fathers put in place to prevent absolute power by any one branch of government,” said Sen. Harry Reid in 2005. "

    "He was joined by President Obama. “I sense that talk of the nuclear option is more about power than about fairness,” Obama said in an April, 2005 speech in the Senate. “I believe some of my colleagues propose this rules change because they can get away with it rather than because they know it’s good for our democracy.”

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bid.....-majority/

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/oba.....get-worse/

  • R C Dean||

    We are saying Hooray for Gridlock. Anyone who likes gridlock should be opposed to the rule change, because it gets of gridlock in the Senate on these appointments.

  • Tony||

    Just don't say you're in favor of how the constitution intended the senate to function.

  • Juice||

    You mean being elected by state legislatures?

  • Christophe||

    The senate decide it's own rules. That's in the constitution. They can change them, but I'm not going to applaud a change that decreases gridlock just because it's legal.

  • wayne@herberts.org||

    The dumbass Republicans had it coming. Fully qualified candidates blocked because of stupid partisan politics. And don't worry... I'll work my ass off to ensure the stinking Republicans never get a majority in my lifetime. A pox upon all Republicans.

  • montana mike||

    And the dumbass Democrats will get payback in a couple years, dumbass. Your sandbox is

  • Michael S. Langston||

    lol - either that's good sarcasm, of you might want to contemplate what self delusion is (not that I agree with others that it's a foregone conclusion R's will take over anytime soon).

    With that logic - why not pass full-on censorship with book burning parties and everything?

    After all - no chance they'll ever come after your books, right?

  • Chuckie||

    It was always designed as a way to get the opposition party to vote their way in important legislation by keeping the minority party from being marginalized.

    The best legislation passes with a good amount of opposition party support. And you get this support by giving the "other guys" something on the less visible votes.

    Government should not be thought of as a zero sum game. Just because a person is "opposition" on the big stuff, does not mean he's against you on everything.

    But what is done is done, and someday the democrats will be in the minority, and they will be sitting there, ignored.

    The real reason for this is to have the power to somehow fix Obamacare without having to consult with republicans for input.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    As someone on some show once said (paraphrased) - Americans seem to be proud of a belief that they are unbending, when in fact history shows their true power is in the art of compromise (I recall the show now - Civil War, Ken Burns)... and the Civil War was a failure to find any compromise (not saying I agree with the last part necessarily, but helps explain why the quote was on that show).

  • Jackand Ace||

    The problem was the Democrat MAJORITY was able to be ignored so often, with no precedent in history (at least as far as the number of times).

    If the filibuster was just used judiciously and as a method to keep the extreme views of the majority in check, all would be OK. And that is how it functioned for decades. Until recently. The trend line from Clinton, through Bush, and now even more extremely with Obama, has been steep. Do Republicans really believe Democrats would not have used it even more with the next Republican President? It would be worse, and it was dysfunctional now.

  • Jackand Ace||

    "The ability of a minority to thwart the agenda and will of the party in power is a feature, not a bug, of the constitutional order, but “majority rules” is, unsurprisingly, popular with the majority."

    Indeed. But the ability of the minority to obstruct willfully the function of government is more than a bug...its a step toward anarchy. So tell me, what is the problem with majority rules? I thought that was democracy.

  • kenezen||

    The Senate just violated our Founders 200 year structure. President Obama wanted this to build a buffer of very carefully selected Judges for the 10th district Appeals Court. This is the first and strongest line of defense against Supreme Court challenges.
    I chortle at the empty headed press! Not one show I've watched or newspaper has had a serious query of:
    WHAT is the President setting this very improper barrier for???
    Some Mundane Battle? No! This is serious, Very Serious! And yet no real discussion or investigation trying to get a line on what it could be.

    NO! We deserve what we're about to get!!

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