The 'nuclear option' has been averted

The story as reported from Wired News. This is dealing with the fight for Judicial nominees.

Interesting that this comes about 4 days after the release of Star Wars: Episode 3. Whether or not a link between the two events can be proven is another story.

Nonetheless, it is an extremely good thing that a compromise was reached. Lord knows what would have happened if there was not one.


nothing significant would have happened. The democrates called changing the fillabuster rules ‘the nuclear option’ for dramatic effect.

in reality, the democrates themselves have changed the fillabuster rules many times over the years, and the government did not melt down as a result

the democrates were only crying foul because it wasnt their finger on the ‘nuclear button’

this time

Oh, comeon Ken, we all know that something would have happened. There would be absolutely NO bipartisan cooperation, multiple senators have said that if the republican majority uses a majority vote to end debate, they would do everything in their power to “stick a wrench in things”. It would not be good.

I’m interested in seeing where, specifically the democrats have changed the rules?

And you cannot pin this on the democrats, the filibuster is a valuable tool utilized by both parties. When the next democratic majority is in the senate, the republicans will happily filibuster when they feel it necessary.

I have to think the republicans were bluffing the entire time. The backlash would be enormous, and while I like to make fun of them, I have to think that at least some of them are smart enough to know that in a relatively short amount of time, they will be in the position of the democrats and need the filibuster themselves.

I feel the concept of the agreement, as Joe said, is the key at this point. Filibuster as you might, I would rather see something get done so the senate has something to work with, whether or not a decision or law is made by a republican or democrat majority.

Guh… Yes “the nuclear option” is a term used for dramatic effect, but this isn’t the only inflammatory term like this used in the history of American politics (i.e. partial-birth abortion, activist judges, etc.). Not to mention that your statement is actually incorrect, the term “nuclear option” was actually originally coined by the Republicans in this case (then they later renamed the plan the “constitutional option”).

The following is a very nice “cliff’s notes” version of the history of the filibuster in American Politics that I’m lifting from WikiPedia.

“In 1789, the First US Senate adopted rules allowing the Senate “to move the previous question,” ending debate and proceeding to a vote. In 1806 this rule was eliminated, allowing the filibuster to become an option for delay and blocking of floor votes, since this left no mechanism for terminating debate. In 1917 a rule allowing for the cloture of debate (ending a filibuster) was adopted. From 1917 to 1949, the requirement for cloture was two-thirds of those voting. As civil rights loomed on the Senate agenda, this rule was revised in 1949 to allow cloture on any measure or motion by two-thirds of the entire Senate membership; in 1959 the threshold was restored to two-thirds of those voting. After a series of filibusters in the 1960s over civil rights legislation, the Senate in 1975 revised its cloture rule so that three-fifths of the Senate (usually 60 senators) could limit debate. Despite this rule, the filibuster or the threat of a filibuster remains an important tactic that allows a large minority to affect legislation.”
Obviously, the reduction in the number of votes needed to enact “cloture” wasn’t a purely political move with regards to civil rights. The two plans (removing the necessity for cloture, period… and lowering the number of necessary votes for cloture from 60 to 51) in this situation are purely politically motivated; attempting to force 7 exceptionally conservative Bush judicial nominations through the senate, which is a party line issue.

Your apparent disdain for the Democrats’ “crying foul” is saddening. It’s too bad that you feel no sympathy for a minority whose rights were/are being threatened. A minority with no rights is hardly a democracy, and this should never be the case no matter who the majority/minority is.

Getting back to my feelings on this “resolution,” I’m very disappointed in it. The Democrats, mainly the spineless Harry Reid, have collectively bent over and not even kept Owen or Brown from their inevitable confirmation. This was another lame showing my Senate Democrats, and I’m disappointed in many of my party’s senators.

Do your research man, Trent Lott (R-Miss.) coined the phrase.

LA Times (03/16/05): "Such a ploy is considered so politically explosive within the Senate that when it was first proposed in 2003, ** Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), a former majority leader, described it as the “nuclear option.”**

In my opinion it saddens me that two of the more conservative judges will be moved past the filibuster, but at the same time I am happy. By ensuring the filibuster stays at its current status, the protection will remain in place for the soon to exist opening(s) on the Supreme Court. Yes you put some on the federal level you would not like to see, but even if they make a “bad” ruling now, you can ensure putting a good person on the Supreme Court to make any changes to the ruling through the appeals process. That to me is the bigger issue, as well as the aforementioned fact that the majority does not stay the majority forever (something that would most certainly have come back to bite the Republicans in the tail).

Actually, the democrats just eliminated that option. Since they agreed to this, if they filibuster when the supreme ct comes up, they’ll have violated the agreement between them and the republicans, who will have no qualms in pointing this out and proceed to end the filibuster.

I dont agree - originally the republicans said “if you are going to break 230 years of tradition and block the presidents qualified and commitee approved judges by refusing to table the debate indefinately and allow a simple majority vote (as the constitution requires), then we have enough votes to make it clear that fillabusting appointments is not acceptable”

Nuclear in the sense that the democrats would not be able to stop the clarification of fillabuster rules.

But the democrates and the press have jumped on the term, and threatened a federal government shutdown (meltdown)

which would have been an act of desperation, and would have caused a huge backlash against the democrats in the senate.

Its only became ‘politically explosive’ because the democrats have threatened to ‘take their ball and go home’ so nobody can play, if they dont get their way.

the minority parrty in the senate **does not have the right ** to dictate the religious beliefs or moral values of the judges appointed by the president. These appointees are fully qualified.

Unfortunately, the lack of punctuation in this entry completely overshadows any point you may have hidden in there, Ken.


I agree completely.

Ok, sorry about that

didnt mean to shortchange anyone

here is some punctuation to make up for what I left out

sprinkle away as you see fit

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

: : : : : : : ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

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hope this helps

let me know if you need more :^)

Ooh! A thread where I can show my independent point of view! Personally, I am a right-leaning independent. However the issue of filibusters, as a whole, should be a nonpartisan issue. Both parties have been a victim of filibusters before. I applaud the congress for passing a compromise (rare in this era of politics), but I think that changes should be made.

The concept of a filibuster almost seems childish to me. It seems like a tactic stubborn children use in order to get their way: “I’m not leaving until I get that (insert object here)”. It just seems selfish to take the floor for an extremely long period of time until you get a semblance of your way.

An anecdote if you will. I have heard of a time when there was a filibuster on the floor. One senator was a pregnant woman. She needed to use the bathroom, but the opposing party had the floor. She could hold it no longer, so she was forced to use a trashcan on the senate floor. She was promptly charged with public urination. I’m sorry I cannot come up with specifics, but I guarantee that it has happened.

Now, some say if the filibuster is eliminated, the minority party will lose its rights. That is a bit of a stretch. Sure, they may not get their way, but that is democracy. The majority of the people want to go along with what the majority party wants. This is just fulfilling democracy.

If supreme court justices cannot be put through without a filibuster (and this is awkward since their time in power is virtually unlimited), then perhaps the system should be changed. I think that the power to put through the president’s nominees should be given to the people.


I’m with Daniel the concept of a Filabuster is childish, its like the little kid who refuses to do anything just because they didn’t get their ice cream. But hopefully they can reach an agreement with the bipartisan groups and end it and get on to something more productive as in vote on a judical nominee.

Oh and this just in it looks like they have a 81-18 vote in the senate to end the debate and move on with adding Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscella Owen on the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals.

But i wonder if something like this will happen again?

Filibusters are as much a part of the political process as the presidential veto. Filibusters exist so that the majority party is forced to go slightly to the mainstream (unless the majority is 60-40 or greater) with their legislation, and so that the president appoints slightly more mainstream diplomats, cabinet members, and judges (since the senate has the right to confirm or deny these appointments). It is a legitimate legislative body tool that is used to deter both the majority party, whoever that may be, and the president (even of the same party) from passing far right or far left legislation or from appointing far right or far left persons to the positions I mentioned before.

Filibusters and this threat of changing the Senate rules to reduce the number of votes for cloture or eliminate the need for cloture, period aren’t gone from our political system; we will definitely see them again. We will most definitely see them by Senate Republicans (if they’re in the Senate Minority) when the next Democratic President tries to nominate anyone with a hint of liberal in them

You speak like someone who has absolutely no interest in listening to the other side, but demands equal time in an attempt to spew your assertions that have half-truths scattered around them with people who are actually having a meaningful and honest discussion. You cannot just blame Democrats for brining about this filibustering issue. It’s true that Democrats have been employing this legitimate senatorial procedure, but it is the President’s fault for nominating justices so objectionable and controversial to his opponents’ party so that they would be forced to use this procedure in order to stick up for their ideals and their constituents. But wait, I’m sorry, you would never admit that any of this is true because you’re always right and anyone who disagrees with you is wrong. You have no sense of perspective, don’t put yourself in others’ shoes when thinking about things, and you apparently have no idea how politics works.

The Minority Party has EVERY right to participate in the legislative process within the Senate rules and within legality. How dare you presume to claim that a Minority Party has no right to do so. It is their responsibility to their constituents to stick up for their ideals and the reasons that they were elected back home. If the President’s nominees didn’t need to be approved by the Senate, then that would be in the Constitution and not the confirmation / rejection process that is actually in there.

You’re very lucky that intelligent people listen to all sides of an issue, and to all arguments for each given side. If this wasn’t the case you’d soon find out that no one was listening to you. You need to see the political situation for what it is and become a realist (which you can still do while keeping your conservative political feelings, these aren’t mutually exclusive) or you can continue to be a political spin and flat out lie proponent on these boards. If you continue being the latter, have no fear, I’ll be there to give your statements a dose of reality.

no appointed judge (or any other appointed official) has ever been prevented from receiving an up/down vote, once they cleared the senate committes, since our nation was formed.

Not one.

Until the democrats started using fillabusters against appointments in GWBs last term.

Are you saying these appointed judges are so unqualified, or so off the wall that 230 years of precident had to be thrown out the window?

If that is your position, then please tell us what is wrong with each of these appointed judges, who have been discriminated against with fillibusters in the senate? Please dont come back and say they are conservative extreemist, but show specifically what is wrong with their individual professional records.

There is only one issue behind all this. Row vs Wade. The democrats are scared to death GWB will appoint conservative judges and the decision will be reversed. That is absurd.

These lower court appointees were nothing but pawns in this political posturing leading up to GWB’s first supreme court appointment, but they are REAL people - they do not have records that justify the way they have been stalled in the senate, some for almost 4 years now!

You speak like someone who has absolutely no interest in listening to the other side, but demands equal time in an attempt to spew your assertions that have half-truths scattered around them with people who are actually having a meaningful and honest discussion…

^^^this is why politics and religion are practically banned on CD. I talk about politics in ONE THREAD and suddenly Im

a political spin and flat out lie proponent on these boards…


Precedent? That’s what your argument is about? Precedent? “Precedent” has the kind of sway you suggest in law, after there have been rulings interpreting law. That’s the only time that precedent actually means something concrete. Precedent hasn’t meant anything concrete or binding in politics (domestic or international) for those same 230 years. This is really just a coincidence that it has taken this long to come about. If you really cared about precedents, then you’d also care about the precedent that even minorities deserve rights, which has been around since before the time of Thomas Jefferson, but obviously some people don’t care about trampling on those.

As for the judges I would back any elected Senator’s right to either vote in favor of rejection or filibuster (given the opposing side doesn’t have enough votes to enact cloture), as is their constitutional right and obligation to their constituents. If I were in their position and had a large percentage of constituents who wanted me to block a nomination then I would do so to the best of my ability. In a republic officials are elected to act on the peoples’ behalf.

Why is the burden of “proof” on me? Why don’t you tell me why these people are qualified, and should be accepted by all sides? But I’m not a jerk and actually a nice guy and I don’t want to put you on the spot and make you research every one of those 7 peoples’ life stories.

These 7 nominees aren’t being appointed to some court like The Peoples’ Court; these are Circuit Court of Appeals courts, one step below the Supreme Court. It’s ridiculous to claim that Democrats are just playing with pawns. Rulings in Circuit Court cases have a widespread effect on the legal makeup of the country, and appointments to those courts are extremely important to every political party. Claiming otherwise just helps show how little you actually know and / or care about our government’s politics.

  • Following Ken TOTALLY Off Subject *
    I believe you’re thinking of the court case Roe vs. Wade. What’s so absurd about pro-choice peoples’ fear that it could be overturned with the unchecked influx of conservative judges to the judicial system? It seems like a legitimate fear to me. Do you happen to have some inside information that would put these fears to rest, or are you still wearing your “completely conservatively biased, and not wanting to listen to anything anyone else says” hat? The Republicans are supposedly the party of states’ rights and individual’s decisions, yet they don’t trust people to make their own family planning decisions or to even use contraception in some cases. Roe vs. Wade isn’t the only issue behind this, but you’re right that it’s one of them. Don’t be so narrow-minded and partisan as to claim that this procedure is only about one issue.

If I was going to follow your example and stoop to your level I’d say that you’re right, posts like yours which were so inflammatory and spotted with half-truths painted as if they were the words of God are the reason why Religion and Politics are such closely moderated topics on CD. It’s so hard for uninformed people to weed through posts like that to find what’s true and what isn’t. All you do is harm the community and continue the divisiveness that plagues this country by promoting such skewed views of reality / political spin talking points (either far right or far left).

ok, you accused me of being a political hack for the republicans, now you accuse me of having a god-complex.

and I asked you to back up your statement that these appointees are so far out in right field that the democrat senators had ‘no choice’ but to block them with a technicality of senate rules

and you offered nothing to support your statements

there is no constitiutional provision that presidential appointments must be approved by a super-majority (60%) in the senate.

My apologies gentlemen, I stopped reading this thread after Daniel and Conor’s posts, when you started arguing.

I respect your opinion, everyone respects your opinion, and we also can tell your political postitions because you’ve been ranting about them ceaselessly.

If you’re going to discuss senate, discuss senate. If you’re going to discuss justices, discuss them.

Ken, you are right. This is why politics and religion are almost banned on CD: because people argue. Enough said.

No, there isn’t, but there is a provision that says you cannot infringe on a member’s right to speak, with less than that many votes.

And Ken, does it really matter what kind of description Bill or anyone else brings back on these judges?

You will:

A) Disregard any, or all of it, for being from a liberal slanted source, and thus not credible.
B) Contend that they’re good people of high moral standards, and that we just don’t like them because they’re not from our party.

I’m normally tolerant of opposing view points, but only when they respect my own. It’s clear that you have no respect for any view point other than your own, and won’t even stop for a second to think about it, regardless of how much information we put out.

As such, I don’t have any respect for your arguments.

P.S. We might take you a little more seriously if you put ten seconds of effort into your posts and used spell check and some punctuation. It makes you look like a 5th grader. I’m not impressed by someone who can’t even spell the word they’re talking about. It probably took you longer to make your one post full of punctuation marks than to just use them while writing.

Oh, and just to satisfy you, even though I know you’ll completely disregard this information, here’s your background:

I’m not even wasting more time finding something you’ll pay no attention to anyways.

Also, this is not unprecedented. In 1968 republicans filibustered one of Lyndon Johnson’s judicial nominees, causing it to be withdrawn.

Ok, guys, after multiple requests this thread is going into the cooling area for just a while until we can make a decision on it. Please pm me with your suggestions on how to handle this thread in the future.