Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Filibuster Compromise

I suppose I should say something about the compromise on filibusters. I don't have a lot that's very original to say about it. There is good commentary on it on a number of left-liberal blogs, read them for original thoughts.

The one thing I want to say is that I'm glad some kind of compromise was reached for a couple of reasons. One thing this administration has taught me is fear of extremism. Were a left-leaning president being filibustered I might feel differently. And if this were 1964 and a bunch of racists were filibustering civil rights legislation I almost certainly would feel differently. But the lunatics in this administration make me feel more comfortably with the potential need for a super-majority in the Senate. It keeps out some forms of extremism. That's not to say that I think Democrats will actually be able to filibuster any nominees anytime soon. But it keeps all the cards on the table for a future filibuster and that is probably a good thing.

The other reason that I like having some kind of compromise is that it buys us some time. We don't know for sure if Rehnquist will retire this year or not. I've heard rumors of his retirement for at least 10 years now. And he hangs on, just like the rest of the justices, several of whom are certainly of a retiring age. But even if he does retire and Bush nominates a right-wing judge, well, that's probably not going to change the makeup of the court very much. Where it really matters is when Stevens or O'Connor or another of the more moderate judges retire. Hopefully that will be after the 2006 elections and hopefully we will make up ground in those elections and make resisting a lunatic nominee and the rest of the Bush program easier. It keeps the filibuster on the table as a legitimate option for doing that. Hopefully we will regain a majority in the Senate (unlikely) or at least pick up 2-3 seats and make resisting Bush all the easier.