Tuesday, May 24


Short snippets from "The Sean Hannity Show" today. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) told Sean that if the Democrats "abuse" the filibuster "as they have many times in the past" to block Bush judicial nominees, he'll call for a rules change at all speed. Now Sean wasn't particularly satisfied with what SOUNDS like an equivocation, but the way I read it, Frist was more or less saying that he'll do it if we use the filibuster at ALL. We've only filibustered ten nominees, so "many times" has to refer to those. And to qualify as "many," each individual incidence must count as an "abuse." This is torturous logic, I know, but it's the way these people send signals to one another outside the understanding of the general public. I'm guessing that the Rethugs are going to allow the compromise deal to go through -- they get Owens, Brown and Pryor (ironically the most objectionable of the nominees), and they throw the others to the wolves in order to be able to trumpet to the voting public their "save-the-Senate compromise" nobility before they submarine the filibuster if it's used on an ultra-conservative Supreme Court nominee.

Also on Hannity, former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork told Sean, again to Sean's mild disappointment, that he wasn't "attracted by" the argument that the filibuster being used against judicial nominees is unconstitutional. Instead, he said, the Senate can make whatever rules they want: if they make a rule to require a super-majority necessary to bring cloture to a judicial filibuster, they can do that. And if they want to change the rules, they can do that too. The super-majorities required by the Constitution can't be changed by legislation, he affirmed, but ones instituted by legislation can be. Sean quickly turned to Bork's ideology to divert the listening public's attention from the real issue, but the damage was done. The "unconstitutional" argument has been one of the primary talking points of the Rethugs. As Bork, one of their icons of "injustice," stated, it doesn't hold water.


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