Filibuster Judicial Nominations?

Although some in the media keep talking about the “nuclear option,” there’s really nothing that explosive about the plans of Senate leadership to end the filibusters against President Bush’s judicial nominees.

The Constitution gives the Senate the power to offer “advice and consent” on nominations to the bench — but some senators – including Mary Landrieu – have interpreted that to mean that they have the power to “obstruct and prevent” qualified jurists from serving. The GOP plan would correct that abuse by reaffirming 51 votes as the number needed to confirm a nominee.

This proposal plan involves nothing unethical; after all, there are already at least 26 laws on the books limiting the use of filibusters to block everything from budget resolutions to international trade agreements. And Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has said — back in 1995 — “The president is entitled to his nominee, if a majority of the Senate consent.”

The bottom line: Restoring Senate tradition to end the minority’s obstructionism must happen sooner rather than later. That’s the message our senators need to hear from us.

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