More thoughts on the nuclear option

You might have seen that various conservatives are trying to rename the "nuclear option" the "constitutional option."  It's dumb frame, and it should be ceaselessly ridiculed.  Indeed, the term "constitutional option" is so vague as to be meaningless.  Apparently, the cons who are propogating the term relying on Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 of the US Constitution:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings[...]

(For an interesting take on how exactly this applies and when, see these two excellent posts by Kagro X at The Next Hurrah).

Sure, the constitution says that the Senate can change its rules, but it can also keep the ones that it has.  So keeping the current rules is just as "constitutional" an option as changing them is.  In fact, anything the Senate does, as long as it falls under the purview of their constitutional duties, is, a priori, a "constitutional option."  It's a transparently dumb frame.  They might as well have called it the "American option" or the "Congress option."  How about the "Operation Senatorial Freedom option"?  That would go over well.  They should try the "freedom fries option."  Maybe people would buy it this time around.

One last thing: in this debate, we need some good judicial poster boys.  Might I recommend Judge Stanley Birch from the 11th Circuit Court of appeals?  Here's the frame:

The reason we Dems oppose the republican nuclear option is that we want judges who interpret the Constitution, not who follow a partisan agenda.  We need judges like Judge Birch, a conservative who was appointed by the President Bush's father.  When Congress does something it shouldn't, Judge Birch is not afraid to read the Constitution.  Like he does here here:

In resolving the Schiavo controversy it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people -- our Constitution.

And most Americans agreed with him.  Tom DeLay and Bill Frist just want to impose their lapdog judges on the country.

-- Michael