consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You can judge it on your own terms ...

Hat tip to Dan Burns, for this link.

I am not cognizant of any persons behind the names, but readers might see a face that rings a bell.

UPDATE: Strib editorial. From mid-item:

Democrats understand that the political table could turn on them. When they were in the minority in 2005, they resisted the change they just imposed. Since then, says Minnesota senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar, more Democratic senators have come around to her view that any president ought to be allowed wide latitude to fill his administration’s leadership positions as he or she sees fit. That at a minimum is what winning a U.S. presidential election should assure, she says.

A former prosecutor, Klobuchar also argues forcefully that leaving judicial positions vacant for purely partisan reasons is unacceptable. “Everything from criminal cases to consumer cases get delayed,” she said this week. “The most complicated cases end up in federal court. We need every judicial position filled to handle that load.”

It’s notable that the filibuster that went too far in the eyes of Senate Democrats was over three appointees to the District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. That court is the venue for cases involving the administrative decisions of federal agencies, making it second only to the Supreme Court in influence. Its docket in coming years is likely to include cases that deal with the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb carbon emissions and various agencies’ implementation of the Dodd-Frank law governing the financial-services industry. Those cases deserve to be assigned to a court at full strength.

As Klobuchar said Nov. 7 on the Senate floor, the three stalled appointees to that court are people with stellar credentials. Two of the three are women; one previously filibustered appointee to the D.C. Circuit was also female. The need for better gender balance is among several reasons why the appointees deserve confirmation.

If the filibuster had not been “nuked,” it’s not clear when or even if the D.C. Circuit would be back to its full 11-judge complement. The same goes for the rest of the federal court system

So, politics and gender can be argued in favor of getting rid of the 60-vote super majority attached to the filibuster in practice, something NOT written into the Constitution. The filibuster grew up as a gentlemens' agreement, in a gentlemens' club, the U.S. Senate. Reform was both overdue and incomplete, in touching only on the appointments question. It is an end-of-term Obama lame duck right of appointment that has been preserved, for now, and for posterity. Obama will take advantage. Successor presidents will also, unless somehow the filibuster practice in its full reach is for some reason reinstalled. Why? Hard to guess any justification for it, past, present, or future. Approval of the Senate for appointments should mean simple majority, without any other procedural tricks up political sleeves.

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