Thursday, April 30, 2009

Did the Specter defection make it harder for Barack Obama to appoint judges? 

Legal Insurrection argues that Arlen Specter's defection to the Donks may have made it easier for Republicans to block President Obama's judicial appointments, including the replacement for Justice David Souter, who announced his retirement today. The reason is that Senate Judiciary Committee rules require the consent of at least one member of the minority party to report a nomination to the Senate floor. With Specter now in the majority, who will be the default acquiescing Republican? Joe Biden, please meet petard.

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.


By Blogger Escort81, at Thu Apr 30, 11:40:00 PM:

There's always the ladies from Maine (Snowe or Collins) to perform that ministerial function, presumably in return for something.

I've been wanting to see some repair to the breakwater in Rockland harbor, anyway, and maybe a new swingbridge over the Gut in South Bristol. The Maine Turnpike always needs work.  

By Anonymous Ted, at Fri May 01, 12:18:00 AM:

You should update your post to read "minority party on the committee" - it reads now like anyone from the minority in the whole Senate.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Fri May 01, 12:39:00 AM:

Oops, my bad, it has to be a member of the Judiciary Committee, which Snowe and Collins are not on. Should have clicked through to the link (always). Dang, that breakwater needs some earmark money.

But Republican members of that committee have never been that obstructionist. Look at the history of the Clinton nominations to the SCOTUS, both in committee and in the Senate as a whole. There is a difference in philosophy as to how a nominee should be treated -- Republican senators have, as a matter of record in recent history, voted in much greater numbers for SCOTUS nominees of Democratic presidents than the other way around.

Out of Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Jon Kyl, Jeff Sessions, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Tom Coburn, I can see everyone but maybe Cornyn providing the single vote necessary. They respect the Constitutional right of the president to nominate who he wants and have the full Senate vote up or down, assuming he doesn't nominate someone like Bill Ayers.

The nominee to replace Souter will coast through -- 70+ votes ultimately -- and will only have committe problems if it turns out there was recent serious drug use or six digit back tax problems.  

By Blogger davod, at Fri May 01, 02:59:00 AM:

Senate Judiciary rules - look to a quick change if the Dems do not get what they want.  

By Anonymous meta-4, at Fri May 01, 09:10:00 AM:

Specter defection may be the best thing that happens to the repubs all year.......stay tuned.  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Fri May 01, 01:32:00 PM:


June 29, 2001.

DEAR COLLEAGUE: We are cognizant of the important constitutional role of the Senate in connection with Supreme Court nominations. We write as Chairman and Ranking Republican Member on the Judiciary Committee to inform you that we are prepared to examine carefully and assess such presidential nominations.

The Judiciary Committee's traditional practice has been to report Supreme Court nominees to the Senate once the Committee has completed its considerations. This has been true even in cases where Supreme Court nominees were opposed by a majority of the Judiciary Committee.

We both recognize and have every intention of following the practices and precedents of the Committee and the Senate when considering Supreme Court nominees.


Patrick J. Leahy,

Orrin G. Hatch,
Ranking Republican Member. "


So much for that.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri May 01, 01:58:00 PM:

Specter will do exactly what the Senate Dems ask this year. He has no choice.

They have no reason to care what he wants. He needs them to be re-elected or to even be on the ballot.

Does anything in his career indicate he won't eat dirt to stay in the Senate?

Any privately promised election support will come next year. Such things as union money and campaign workers will not arrive for months.

But alas, Arlen's total obedience is expected right now. Today.

And by next summer the Dems may abandon him in the primary. After all, why support a pompous jerk who will be troublesome once he is safely back office for six years?

I will laugh if Arlen grovels and then gets dumped next year. That is exactly what he deserves as a person.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri May 01, 07:49:00 PM:

Joe Biden was too busy handing out masks to his family to thwart swine flu to have thought of these political ramifications.

Escort81, Clinton's picks sailed through because he conferred with Orrin Hatch on which Democrats would be acceptable. Clinton's first choice was Bruce Babbitt, but Hatch told Clinton that Babbitt would have trouble getting out of his own party and wouldn't get past the Republicans. Hatch then said that both Breyer and Ginsburg were acceptable.

As for Specter, I'm not certain that local wunderkind Joe Torsella or Congressman (and former Vice Admiral) Joe Sestak will pull out of the Democratic primary. Torsella is well-regarded within the party, and Sestak has name recognition. Also, apparently Harry Reid wrote of Specter in his 2008 book that the only time the Democrats got Arlen's support was when they didn't need it.

In sum, Arlen Specter has had an interesting political journey, and it might have an unhappy ending.  

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