(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Monday, January 13, 2003

Dwight Meredith, who is a great blogger and probably a great lawyer too, responds to my post below in which I expressed doubts about a filibuster on Judge Pickering's elevation to the Fifth Circuit. Dwight believes -- as does Atrios and others whom I respect -- that the mojo to filibuster is in fact like a muscle, and that it grows stronger with use. I hope that he is right. And if he is correct that a filibuster of Judge Pickering will lead to the strength and resolve to filibuster every far-right nominee, then I'm all for it. I think it's what needs to be done. And perhaps it's a matter of self-fulfilling prophecy. But I anticipate a fizzle.

UPDATE: Now I readily admit that I'm no expert in Senatorial behavior. But I've put my finger on why I don't anticipate a successful string of judicial-nomination filibusters. It is that we're not talking, here, about our assessment of or our hopes for the strength of the Democratic party, or even of Democratic Senators. We are talking, really, about the strength of the 41st-most-liberal Democratic Senator: will that person (whoever it is) be willing, given the electoral politics of his or her State (and fundraising needs, stature within the party, etc.), to be part of a series of unbreakable filibusters? Or will that person say "I did my party-duty on Judge Pickering, but the folks at home won't let me make a habit of it"?

Even Republican Senators -- with their relatively high party-discipline -- only voted down what, maybe ONE Clinton judicial nominee on the Senate floor? It wasn't that they loved Clinton's nominees, it was that they did not have the political will as a collective to do more than that. It's very hard for me to expect that Democrats in the Senate, with their relatively lame party discipline, will manage to do a series of filibusters. Again, I hope I'm wrong.

posted by sam 12:06 PM 0 comments


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger


email: first name@last name dot net