April 21, 2005

Up Or Down Vote

That's how simple it ought to be: every nominee deserves an up or down vote. Instead of waiting fro 18 months or two years to get some action, all nominees ought to be able to move to the floor for a vote. Even if they fail in committee. Committee rules have different ways to move something out to the floor. On nominees, they can forward them to the floor with a positive recommendation, with a negative recommendation, or with no recommendation.

Every nominee deserves to get a vote in committee - and if they fail the first two votes the third vote ought to be understood to move them to floor. Or they could simply amend the rules to automatically move a nomination to the floor after a committee votes on it.

This is how it went with Bork. He was controversial and failed in committee on the first vote and then the second. The third vote moved him to the Floor where he was defeated by the full Senate. Simple and fair.

That's really what it's about: fairness and motion. The Democrats, like the Clinton-era Republicans, are blocking nominees because they don't like them. Fine, don't vote for them, then. But every nominee ought to get an up or down vote. It's worth noting that the Republicans never filibustered nominees, though. They legitimately controlled the Senate and held stuff up, but they didn't use a filibuster tactic to effectively force a nominee get the support of 60 Senators instead of a simple majority of those voting (quorum being present).

This is the kind of rule I could definitely jive with even if the Democrats were running the Senate and the White House, because it's just simple fairness. Every nominee deserves an up or down vote.

Why the Republicans are avoiding such a simple idea is crazy, especially since Byrd (as Democratic leader) limited the use of the filibuster four times. The filibuster is not in the Constitution, it's simply a very longstanding and pro-minority tradition and rule of the Senate. Captain Ed is so angry at the GOP for wasting time on nominees that he's decided to forgo any contributions to them until they change their act or change their leaders.

There's nothing wrong with amending the filibuster out of simple fairness - especially when the filibuster is OBSTRUCTING debate, not encouraging it. The Democrats shouldn't be able to get away with defending the filibuster as a part of debate. They're blocking debate and motion by using the filibuster.

Every nominee deserves an up or down vote. Simplicity itself.


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