The Strategic Mistake of a Decade.


Now that the Senate has killed DADT repeal, I wonder if anyone remembers this?

In the nuclear option — some supporters call it the “constitutional” option — Bill Frist would push through a rules change that would eliminate Senate filibusters for judicial nominees.

Democrats have been using filibuster threats, a promise to stall a nomination through extended debate, on 10 Bush judicial nominees. Such a threat requires 60 votes to overcome. The Senate did confirm 204 of the president’s 214 trial and appellate judicial nominees.

Taking away the filibuster would mean Republicans would need 50 votes to confirm judges, well within the number of their 55-member caucus.

Democrats and moderate Republicans responded with a "Gang of 12" that would preserve the judicial filibuster while allowing some of Bush's nominees to go through. In retrospect -- with two years of Obama's presidency behind us -- I think we can safely say that Democrats made a huge mistake. I'm sure there are plenty of Senate Democrats who look back and wish that they would have let Frist go nuclear; they could have used the end of the judicial filibuster to eliminate the general filibuster, and save themselves a little bit of heartache and struggle.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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