Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, November 14, 2013 7:52 pm

Senate Republicans continue to abuse the filibuster

Senate Republicans have filibustered three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court. (There are three vacancies on an eight-judge panel.) The GOP has accused Obama of 1) “court-packing” and 2) appointing “radicals” to those seats.

“Court packing,” like so many words Republicans like to toss around, has an actual meaning. Also, like so many of the words Republicans toss around, it does not mean what they think it means. It stems from the 1930s, when FDR became so frustrated at opposition in the federal courts to some of his New Deal measures that he contemplated increasing the number of seats on the Supreme Court and elsewhere in the federal judiciary to create room for majorities who would uphold his policies. (That didn’t happen, by the way; natural turnover solved some of his problem over time.) But today’s GOP calls filling existing vacancies “court packing.” Uh, no.

Now, then, as for the radicals: The most liberal of the three D.C. Circuit nominees is probably Cornelia “Nina” Pillard. And how radical is she?

Well …

Pillard’s nomination was easily the most controversial for conservatives in the Senate, who voiced concerns over her “radical” views connecting reproductive rights to gender equality as well as her history working on significant cases such as United States v. Virginia, which opened the Virginia Military Institute to women, and Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, which successfully defended the Family and Medical Leave Act against a constitutional challenge.

Gee. That sounds bad. But was it?

It’s hard to imagine evidence of “radicalism” being much more feeble. You don’t exactly have to be Catharine MacKinnon to believe that states denying women the same educational opportunities as men violates the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Indeed, Pillard’s position won at the Supreme Court 7-1. Similarly, arguing that the FMLA—which passed the Senate 71-27—was applicable against state employers is not exactly revolutionary. The Supreme Court agreed in a 6-3 opinion authored by noted left-wing fanatic William Rehnquist (who also voted with the majority in the VMI case.)

Sooooo … the cases about which Pillard is getting the most grief are cases in which she 1) prevailed, and not narrowly, at the Supreme Court, with 2) William Rehnquist, one of the most conservative justices to sit on the high court in the past 75 years, agreeing with her.

In related news, the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (with whom I have my own problems, but that’s a story for another time) to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency also was filibustered. That marked the first time a sitting member of Congress had been denied an up-or-down vote on a presidential appointment since 1843. No, that’s not a typo.

It’s almost as if Senate Republicans aren’t actually concerned about nominees’ competence, character, or even politics. It’s almost as if they’re concerned about … well, something else. But I can’t quite put my finger on it. I wonder what it might be?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 6:50 pm

Quote of the Day, KY Senate race edition

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a likely Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on McConnell’s obstructionism, particularly overuse of the filibuster:

“Let’s tell it like it is. If the doctors told Sen. McConnell he had a kidney stone, he wouldn’t pass it.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 6:00 pm

Inevitable headline: He’s good enough, he’s smart enough …

Filed under: Voting — Lex @ 6:00 pm
Tags: , ,

… and, doggoneit, 312 more people liked him than liked Norm Coleman:

Republican Norm Coleman ended his bruising eight-month court fight over Minnesota’s U.S. Senate seat this afternoon, conceding to Democrat Al Franken after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Franken’s favor.

The justices ruled today that Franken won the U.S. Senate election and said he is entitled to an election certificate that would lead to him being seated in the Senate.

“Affirmed,” wrote the Supreme Court, unanimously rejecting Coleman’s claims that inconsistent practices by local elections officials and wrong decisions by a lower court had denied him victory.

Two hours after the decision was released, Coleman said he would “abide by the results.”

Within minutes, Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s office removed the last hurdle to Franken’s being seated in the Senate, saying he would sign Franken’s certificate of election.

I have no idea what kind of senator Al Franken will make, but I congratulate the voters of Minnesota on finally obtaining their constitutionally guaranteed second U.S. senator.

I would also point out that despite the length of time involved, Minnesota’s election laws defined this process quite clearly, and the process did exactly what it was supposed to do. It produced a result that, though narrow, was incontrovertible. Even Norm Coleman has recognized that.

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