Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Monday, March 07, 2005

On Those Judicial Nominations and the Nuclear Option

Seems Senator Byrd spoke a bit hastily:

West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd got into hot water last week for introducing Hitler into the Senate's already acrimonious debate on Democratic filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominations. Speaking of the Republicans' threatened "nuclear option," he said, "We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men."

Herr Byrd does get carried away, but more revealing than his rhetoric was the substance of his remarks, on which he elaborated in an op-ed article in Friday's Washington Post. Somehow in his excoriation of a tactic that would deny Senators "their right to free speech on judicial nominations," Mr. Byrd forgot to mention that he pioneered the practice...

Changing Senate precedents by majority vote would be nothing new to Mr. Byrd, who used the tactic to change Senate precedents on filibusters and other delaying tactics when he was Majority Leader in 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1987. This history is detailed by Martin Gold and Dimple Gupta in the current issue of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

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