Why that uncomfortable look on Specter’s face? a whole lotta old white guys got him by the balls (credit: Yoni Brook/NYT)
Senate Republicans have Arlen Specter by the balls. They extracted their pound of flesh from him (Judiciary Panel Backing Specter as Its Chairman”) in his quest for chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. As compensation for his candidness in warning the president that no anti-abortion Supreme Court nominee would gain approval from the Senate, he made the following craven statement:
“It is my hope and expectation that we can avoid future filibusters and judicial gridlock with a 55-45 Republican majority and election results demonstrating voter dissatisfaction with Democratic filibusters,” Mr. Specter wrote. “If a rule change is necessary to avoid filibusters, there are relevant recent precedents to secure rule changes with 51 votes.”
I’d heard an analyst say that such a rules change requires 67 votes so I wonder what Specter knows that I don’t.
When Democrats controlled both Houses and were stifled by Republican filibusters, they never resorted to such a mischievous plan. Decades, if not more of Senate tradition would be jettisoned in a single act. Certainly a rules change will give Bush the most conservative Supreme Court in the history of our nation, one that would easily overturn Roe v. Wade and then proceed to even further “reforms.” Lord help us if it gets that far. Without the filibuster, the role of opposition (and Republicans should keep in mind that one day they too will revert to being in opposition and Democrats will be in no hurry to restore to them what they [the Republicans] took away) will become even lonelier and colder than it already is.
My orignal post on the Specter imbroglio was Will Specter Become Next Judiciary Chair?