Left In Lowell

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November 21, 2013

Going Nuclear

by at 12:10 pm.

Right now, after a few more tries at getting a judicial nominee through and being filibustered, Senator Reid is finally done with the obstructionism and is going nuclear on the filibuster for judicial nominees.

The current vacancy crisis of our judiciary is often unremarked by the media, but it has very big consequences for the justice system we all live under. Republicans want to claim Obama is too slow to nominate, but with them using the filibuster to block so many nominees - qualified, good nominations, we’re not talking about political hacks, and even the Republicans can’t always find a good objection other than it being something Obama initiated - our judicial system has been hampered for years.

The concept of “going nuclear” on the filibuster was, of course, invented by Republicans over the few filibusters of some very shady Bush nominees (people who were not qualified…remember, Bush at first wanted Harriet freaking Miers for the SCOTUS, and even his own party was like, wahhhhh?). But now the media is forgetting their history (shocker) and is saying this is a Democratic idea. Well, no, actually, thanks for playing.

But if this is the only way to fill our judicial vacancies and actually get the people’s work done, let’s do it. If and when Republicans become the majority, these rules will apply to Dems as a minority as well. Let each party own their own damn governing without a filibuster, if the rules are going to be abused in such a manner.

PS - why yes, I am streaming C-SPAN right now, if you must ask…

Update the vote to change the rules just passed. For all judicial nominees except SCOTUS, a simple majority will confirm them! Finally, a Senate that will (somewhat) function.

8 Responses to “Going Nuclear”

  1. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Truthfully what I would rather see is change the way a filibuster is done and require Senators to stand up at the rostrum and talk, the way it was intended.

    The current practice of submitting a letter to the Senate President saying I or we are filibustering this or that particular item and that’s it until 60 votes are cast to move the issue forward is BS.

  2. Robby Greenhalge Says:

    This whole thing is perfect timing for the Obama administration as it gives me the media something else to discuss aside from the disastrous Obamacare implementation, which has been disastrous to say the least.

    While I actually agree that the current, or old, filibuster rule was severely flawed, this was only brought up to deflect the embarrassing media stories of the failed Obamacare website.

    Politics at its best. Nothing more, nothing less.

  3. Mr. Lynne Says:

    “…this was only brought up to deflect the embarrassing media stories of the failed Obamacare website.”

    Actually, it was only brought up because only under a rule change can this senate accomplish anything given the complete absence of a loyal opposition interested in governing.

    Filibuster reform is just another word for nothing left to lose. Back in January, the best arguments against filibuster reform had nothing to do with filibuster reform. They had to do with the rest of the Democrats’ agenda.

    “Speaker John Boehner said the House wouldn’t consider legislation from a post-filibuster reform Senate. It’s very likely that a real filibuster reform fight would’ve destroyed the Democrats’ agenda in the coming months — think immigration and gun control.”

    But gun control died in the Senate. And it turned out that Boehner refused to consider the Senate’s immigration legislation regardless of the filibuster’s status. Now, with President Obama’s political capital at a nadir, it’s clear that there’s no second-term agenda to protect in the near future, and there may not even be a Democratic Senate majority after 2014.

    So in pure “getting-things-done” terms, Democrats are faced with a choice: keep the filibuster and get nothing done. Change the filibuster and get nothing done aside from staffing the federal government and filling a huge number of judicial vacancies with lifetime appointments.

    The GOP created all the incentives to make this happen.

    More here:

    The practical end of the Senate’s 60-vote threshold is not plunging the chamber into new and uncharted territories. It’s the omnipresence of the filibuster in recent decades that plunged the chamber into new and uncharted territories.

  4. Taxpayer Says:

    While I agree it needs changes: Obama in April 2009 as a Senator denounced it along with Harry Reid. Very hypocritical and political at this time given the important issues that are unfolding and need an overhaul!

  5. joe from Lowell Says:

    Robby, this is about the fourth filibuster showdown in the past two years. We had one in January - was that just Obama’s attempt to distract from the fiscal cliff?

    The human brain excels at making connections, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually there. More than one thing happens in American politics all the time.

  6. joe from Lowell Says:

    Obama wasn’t a Senator in April 2009.

    The filibuster itself has been functioning as a major impediment to addressing important issues and overhauling things.

    The use of the filibuster by the minority party when Barack Obama was denouncing it was being carried out in a very different manner than its use of the past five years.

  7. Publius Says:


    You stated:

    “If and when Republicans become the majority, these rules will apply to Dems as a minority as well. ”

    I agree with you 100%

  8. joe from Lowell Says:

    As well they should. The party that wins an election should be able to govern. This business of sabotaging the functioning of the state as a means of hostage-taking needs to be removed from our system.

    It’s not as though the Democrats ever did anything notable with the filibuster anyway.

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