Shortly before the GOP is likely to regain control of the Senate, we can expect to see Obama name a replacement for AG Holder, who will then be confirmed by the lame duck Senate under the new rules that Harry Reid rammed through late last year.
To quickly summarize, the ability to filibuster executive and judicial nominations (except for SCOTUS) by requiring 60 votes to bring up a nominee, was eliminated, and now a simple majority suffices.
Reid has already used his new power to stuff the appellate courts with many of Obama’s most controversial nominees.
At the time Reid took action, he was warned by most Republican senators, as well as many commentators on both sides, that there would eventually come a time when the shoe would be on the other foot, and “going nuclear” would come back and “bite the Dems on the ass.” (get it????)
Well, it seems the day of reckoning has come a lot sooner than many expected.
And now, “mirabile dictu,” what do we have here?
Why, it’s the old maverick, John McCain, along with his faithful sidekick, Orrin Hatch, ( both of whom survived primary challenges by promising to be real solid conservatives, before promptly straying off the reservation) who have just publicly professed that they will “work hard to restore the 60 vote threshhold” once the GOP is back in the majority.
FYI, here’s the story from Politico:
McCain, remember, is just so eager to regain control of the Senate (so that he can rearm the Democrats), that he won’t campaign against threatened incumbent Mark Udall in adjacent Colorado out of respect for “a old friend.”
A person could realistically make a convincing argument that one can uphold the GOP version of the Hippocratic Oath ( First, do no harm!) by doing exactly the oppposite of whatever McCain does.
However, let’s give McCain a very brief benefit of the doubt here, and ponder if there is in fact any merit to his argument.
Quick note: Three Democrats, Levin ( who’s retiring) Pryor (who’s very soon to be “retired” by the voters) and Manchin did not vote for the rules change.
According to the Politico story, several GOP senators are against changing the rules back, in effect restoring the filibuster. However, and this is very important: not one has yet, to my knowledge, advocated for doing so on the record.
Indeed, Jeff Sessions, a true conservative stalwart, who has termed the effect of the Democrats’ new ability to shape the appellate courts “thunderous, ” has not taken a position.
If the GOP does win control of the Senate, it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference for the next two years, as a Republican majority could defeat any Obama nominee.
Would they be willing to exercise that power when needed? That’s a totally different question.
The problem in doing so comes in 2016, when we have a Republican in the Oval Office. We would be handing ( actually surrendering) to the Democrats the ability to block nominations.
And we know the Democrats would have absolutely no compunction against using that power.
I suppose that the best argument if indeed there is one, for restoring the 60 vote threshold, is that it’s somehow “conservative” in that it restores things to the “way they used to be.” ( supposedly a kinder, gentler time)
Yes, in a perfect world, that’s true. But alas, that’s not the world inside the Beltway. Once a line is crossed, there’s no going back. ( unless of course, your name happens to be Barack) Some events, some decisions, are in fact irrevocable, and to my thinking, this is one of them.
If others here disagree, I welcome your rationale.
Harry Reid pried open Pandora’s box, now he and his Democrat colleagues can reap the consequences,
What is most important, and what is most alarming, is that Senate conservatives, have yet to take a clear position on this. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and others should as soon as possible issue a clear, concise statement on this. If possible, get a majority of GOP senators to concur.
This is far too important an issue to be left up to squishes like Mitch McConnell.