Saturday, November 18, 2006

If You Care About Federal Judicial Nominations

Then read every word of Hugh Hewitt's blistering attack Gang of 14. It is compelling, and should make any real conservative very worried about a President McCain.


Blogger The Kosher Hedgehog said...

Sorry, Lowell, but I disagree with Hugh's argument, and I guess by extension with you also. The fact is that without the "Gang of 14" Justice Alito would still be Court of Appeals Judge Alito, and Chief Justice Robert's nomination might never have reached the Senate floor. At the time the Gang of 14 came into being, the GOP did not have enough votes to stop the Democratic filibuster of President Bush's nominations. Had it not been for the Gang of 14 compromise, the Democrats would have gleefully continued to filibuster judicial nominations to prevent a floor vote, including the nominations of Judge Roberts and Judge Alito. The Democrats would have done so no matter how much politicial damage Hugh might think they were doing among conservatives, because those conservative weren't about to vote Democratic in any event. The filibuster was playing very well to the Democratic liberal base.

As Hugh concedes, the GOP was only able to muster 50 votes for the so-called constitutional option or "nuclear option," which would have changed Senate rules to allow a simple majority vote to end a filibuster on a judicial nomination. (At the time I argued on this blog that the GOP should try to do just that, but that doesn't mean the change of rules would have passed.) 50 votes is one short of the majority needed to pass that rule change, and that count of 50 was only achieved with a great deal of arm-twisting. It is highly unlikely that they would have gotten to 51.

In the face of that impasse, Senator McCain and 6 other Republican Senators joined with 7 Democrats to form the Gang of 14 compromise. Because of that compromise, and only because of that compromise, both Judge Roberts and Judge Alito received floor votes on their nominations, which is why they sit on the Supreme Court bench today. To verify this, one need only go back and read the news stories at the time of the Roberts and Alito nominations to see the effect that the Gang of 14 had on each of them. In each case, when the Gang of 14 indicated that by the terms of the compromise, the nomination did not permit a filibuster, Democratic opposition to a floor vote immediately collapsed.

The Gang of 14 also included Michael DeWine of Ohio, whose re-election Hugh strongly supported. It also included Lindsey Graham, who as a Congressman formerly was Hugh's great hero, when he served as the GOP floor manager during the Clinton impeachment. Now, however, Senator Graham fails to meet Hugh's standards of conservative purity, because he is willing to compromise in order to achieve concrete results that actually advance conservatism.

Oddly enough, prior to the election, when callers to his show argued that they were so angry at the President and the GOP majority in Congress that they would rather stay home and see the Democrats win, Hugh forcefully argued that this tactic was self-defeating. Hugh should understand that his analysis of the Gang of 14 would have likewise led to a brave, glorious and principled defeat, as opposed to two conservative seats on the Supreme Court.  

Posted by The Kosher Hedgehog

Saturday, November 18, 2006 8:58:00 PM  

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