View Full Version : I'd like to comment on the Judicial committee itself.

John Smith
10-01-2018, 08:38 AM
Senate committees are supposed to be civil. Lindsay Graham changed that.

I'd like to point out how the Republicans all accused/blamed Feinstein for leaking Ford's letter, and they had far less corroborating evidence to support that accusation than Ford had to support hers, which they don't see as enough.

Overall, I found this embarrassing. All on the committee, IMO, should begin from the standpoint of looking for things that would disqualify the nominee. If they find none, then they vote to confirm. They cannot find what they are unwilling to look for.

I'm also dismayed that members of the committee accept dodging, ducking, diverting, when questions are asked. Refusal to answer a question because it is hypothetical, and refusing to answer questions that are not hypothetical, IMO, should be disqualifying.

This is not a trial where one can take the 5th amendment.

Answering questions on abortion with "Roe is settled law" is not answering, as the Supreme Court is NOT bound by precedents. Lower courts may be, but not the Supreme Court, so that answer is a none answer.

I've also come to the conclusion that for Supeme court nominees, a party line vote ought not be sufficient. Up until recently, it required 60 votes. Maybe that should be returned to, but it won't be. I do think for the Supreme Court, the committee should require at least three votes from the minority party to move the nominee to the full senate, and the full senate should require at least 5 votes from the minority party to confirm.

Being able to move the nominee forward on party lines alone is not a good thing. It ends civility. It brings less moderate and more extreme nominees.

Unless we find a better way, we are doomed.

Ian McColgin
10-01-2018, 09:02 AM
The "nuclear option" was always the wrong answer to a different problem.

It once was that a filibuster (endless debate, thus forestalling action) required 2/3 of the senate for cloture closing off debate. Then the filibuster evolved into today's virtual filibuster where the stalling senators only had to announce to hold off debate. On Obama's election Sen. McConnell announced bluntly that Rs would block everything and while they did not then have a majority they had enough to block many federal and judicial appointments. So in November 2013 the Senate voted 52-48 (all R's and 3's in the minority) the Senate made a simple majority enough to confirm any presidential appointee except Supreme Court nominations.

After D's filibustered Gorsuch in 2017, the R's extended the simple majority.

Of course, the correct solution would have been to keep the 2/3 (or sometimes 3/5) rule and make the filibuster a real thing - someone must be actually on the floor and speechifying to prevent the vote. Sooner or later someone will get tired.

* * *

Another problem is that when the two parties are so opposed and evenly matched that democratic compromise is impossible, there's an urge to end the political impasse with an legalistic end-run - charges and investigations into alleged crimes or corruption. These things come with varying legitimacy from all sides.

10-01-2018, 10:22 AM
Agreed, Ian. The changed voting structure has simply eliminated any incentive to reach consensus. Senators Flake and Graham said as much outright on '60 Minutes' last night.