Constitutional Procedures That Aren't Constitutional

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

While minority rights are a significant Senate tradition, the Constitution itself, through the "advice and consent" clause, clearly mandates confirmation of judges by simple majority once every voice has been heard. The filibuster is not enshrined among the Constitution's system of checks and balances. Judicial filibusters of majority-supported nominees have never been part of the Senate's tradition.
Until recently, anyway, when Democrats filibustered 10 of President Bush's appellate court nominees. C-SPAN 2 aired the battle between Senators Biden (D) and Hatch (R) this afternoon, two politicians for whom I have great respect.

While I can see where Democrats are coming from, changing the Senate rules to end filibusters on judicial nominees is no different or more "radical" than changing the Constitution to end segregation or give minorities the right to vote.