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Change the Rule not the People

I have to agree with Hugh Hewitt on the opposition of Senator Specter as chairman of the Judiciary committee. It is much more important that the Republican majority exercise some backbone and change the rules regarding filibustering of a judicial nominee. Hugh writes...

The GOP majority ought to insist on a rule that assures that every nominee that gains a majority vote of the Judiciary Committee be brought to the floor. This is a long overdue reform of reactionary practices such as "blue slip" holds and filibusters of judicial nominees. Conservatives are not demanding the right reforms when they aim at Senator Specter. They should be insisting on a rebalancing of the processes employed by the Senate according to constitutional norms.

. . . The prospect that Senator Specter might oppose a Bush nominee is not a happy one, but neither is it inevitable nor, given the appropriate committee make-up, fatal to the nominee's prospects. Conservatives ought to be focused on demanding the right allocation of seats and the right names for the new members, not on their fears about Senator Specter's reliability. Recall that Specter did a fine job defending Justice Thomas. Given Senator Specter's reputation for moderation, his support of future Bush nominees could prove hugely valuable.
Lifeway wrote about this in 2003.
Another plan, as outlined in The Hill's May 7 edition, would require Republicans asserting that Senate Rule XXII, which outlines rules for filibustering, applies to legislation only and not to presidential nominees. Republican senators would appeal to the chair, arguing that the rule either does not apply to judicial nominees or that it is unconstitutional. If the chair agrees, a simple majority of 51 votes would be required to uphold the ruling. And even if the chair disagrees, the same 51 senators could override the ruling.

Hatch told The Hill that the current application of the rule to judges is unconstitutional. The rule should not, he said, be applied to executive branch nominees. "The executive branch and the judicial branch are co-equal (with the legislative branch)," he told The Hill....

...Senate rules can be amended only by a super-majority of the senators. The question, conservatives say, is whether Rule XXII applies to judicial nominees and whether the Constitution requires a simple majority for judicial confirmation.

"It is well past time that the grown-ups in the Senate do what is necessary to conduct the nation's business," the ERLC's Land said.

Some of the proposals being floated would certainly lead to controversy. The ACLJ argued that it is better to solve the problem now than wait until a vacancy in the Supreme Court, when the controversy would only escalate. This "would make possible a smoother process of confirmation when vacancies there require the Senate to pass upon the President's nominees to the Supreme Court," it said in its report.

Some of the proposals are certainly controversial, but Land said action needs to be taken to stop the "unconstitutional" filibusters begun under Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

"The division is there, and it's his party's senators that have caused it," he said. "I'm just delighted that the Republicans have decided to fight back."
Well the beginning has been accomplished with the removal of Daschle. I agree it is time for the grown ups in the senate to stand up and take back control of the nomination process.

Patterico has Specter Mini-Roundup
Spoons has multiple posts on preventing a Specter chairmanship.
Powerline has Specter Watch.
Beldar weighs in with Opposing Specter for Judiciary
WizBang enters with The Spectre Of Specter