Monday, April 25, 2005

Least Surprising News of the Week

On Friday, Vice President of Cranky Old Men, Dick Cheney stated that he would be willing to provide the tie-breaking vote to change Senate rules which would end filibusters and allow the Senate to confirm the Bush Administration's judicial nominees. You can read more here.

It wasn't enough for the Bush Administration to circumvent judicial authority in
the Terri Schaivo case. Now, they're seeking to allow further elimination of
checks and balances by taking away one of the Senate's most important
legislative powers. To hear Uncle Dick tell the story, you'd think that
Senate Democrats were just playing politics with Bush's judicial nominees:

There is no justification for allowing the blocking of nominees who are
well qualified and broadly supported," Mr. Cheney told a gathering of the
Republican National Lawyers Association. "The tactics of the last few years, I
believe, are inexcusable. "If the Senate majority decides to move forward and if
the issue is presented to me in my elected office as president of the Senate and
presiding officer, I will support bringing those nominations to the floor for an
up-or-down vote," he said. "On the merits, this should not be a difficult call
to make."

It sounds like those damned Senate Democrats have must have been pretty stingy about which of Bush's judicial nominees they have approved. Dick thinks that the Democrats are just behind dicks, and you might too. Unless, however, you look at what the Senate Democrats' actual record of approval has been for Bush's judicial nominees. For clarification, we turn to
According to the Web site of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy,
Bush has nominated 34 people for appeals courts, and 18 of them have been
confirmed. Of his 97 nominations for district courts, 88 were confirmed.

Ok, let's do some math: (97+34 = 131) (18+88 =106) 106/131 = (carry the cranky old bastard) = 81%. Looks like the Senate has confirmed 81% of Bush judicial nominees during his first term. I would say that's pretty damned fair. According to another CNN report, which quotes California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer Bush has had about 98% of his total judicial nominees approved by the Senate. The article also points out that during the Clinton Administration, Senate Republicans blocked over 60 of Clinton's judicial nominees.

It's just another day in Washington with our two parties pointing fingers and blaming each other for everything, but it's more than just a little bit irritating that with somewhere between 80-98% of Bush's judicial nominees being accepted by the Senate, that Republicans are still considering eliminating the filibuster.

Republicans have talked for a long time about limiting the power of the federal government. Libertarian-leaners in the Republican party have to be completely pissed off about the recent turn of events, where Republicans, realizing that they control the federal government have dabbled in everything from Terri Schaivo's rights to judicial process to making the executive branch the governmental equivalent of Barry Bonds on a steroid rage. Events like this add to my theory that the Republican Party is going to face some difficult decisions about the direction of the party in the years ahead.

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