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One claim the GOP likes to make is that they were justified in blocking many of Clinton's judicial nominees in the 90s because they were in the majority in Congress. Dems should now be supine, they say, because the right comparison to make is with the Senate Republicans in the first two years of Clinton's first term, when they were in the minority - and as docile as can be.

Only problem is, that story isn't true. Even when the Democrats held a 56-44 advantage in the Senate in 1993 & 1994, the Republicans still tried to stop nominees they didn't like. Here's a tale about one of them.

In 1993, Larry LaRocco, then a Democratic Congressman from Idaho, suggested to Bill Clinton that attorney John Tait be nominated to fill a vacant federal district judgeship in the state. The following year, Clinton went ahead and put Tait's name forward.

But GOP Sen. Larry Craig (and his former Idaho colleague Dirk Kempthorne) were irked about being left out of the process - usually senators get to advise presidents about judicial nominees, but because they were Republicans, they got passed over in favor of LaRocco. Primarily, of course, they were pissed about a Democrat (Tait) getting the nod.

So what did the aggrieved Idaho senators do? Did they just take their lumps and quietly lie down? Hardly:

Two months ago, U.S. Sens. Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne successfully blocked Tait's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Lewiston Morning Tribue, 12/14/1994

Orrin Hatch, then the ranking member of the judiciary committee, prevented Tait from getting a vote at Craig & Kempthorne's request. When the GOP took over Congress in November of that year, Tait's nomination was permanently dead. Tait, by the way, was rated as qualified by the American Bar Association.

I'm sorry for the lack of links - this story is just a bit too old to have made it on to the web. (Though if you have access to Lexis, you can easily confirm all the details.) But in fact, this is something the Republicans are relying on - they're trying to rewrite a period of history (as they often do) that's just a little bit beyond the edges of recent memory. Of course, we won't let them - and we'll remind them that while the GOP thwarted nominees for crass partisan reasons even when they were in the minority, we are currently only exercising our perogative in order to block a tiny handful of the very worst candidates.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri May 20, 2005 at 01:55 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And Craig is one of the biggest Crybabies (none)
    A couple of years back, when Wingnut Brown was voted down in commitee, led by Feinstein...Craig threw a big hissy fit at DiFi for being so "mean" -- jeez, all these bullies crumble into girlie men, when confronted by strength.
  •  I always see the defense (none)
    "But Democrats were the first to use the filibuster"  from republicans i talk to.

    I in turn say "Well, it sounds like the Democrats were the first to protect our rights by using the rules in place to do so".

    The filibuster is a tool of democracy. That is the only response we need to say. To get rid of minority  protections is to show disdain towards the rights afforded to all in our constitution.

    I'll say it again, keep on calling & writing your senators.

    http://www.byronmiller.org

    by byronm on Fri May 20, 2005 at 02:41:05 AM PDT

    •  aoeu (none)
      Republicans blocked Abe Fortas back in the 60s.  Are they talking about how Southern Democrats used the filibuster to block Civil Rights legislation?  Why, those Southern Democrats were conservatives!  They'd be right at home in todays GOP.

      Separate is equal when up is down.

      by TealVeal on Fri May 20, 2005 at 09:00:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This better be true (none)
    Look guys, this better be true, because I'm gonna be running off soon to another message board to post this as a response to some wingnuts who want to claim that the Republicans have never ever engaged in the same tactics under the same circumstances as the Democrats currently are in the Senate.

    I'm just surprised this example hasn't come out until now.  What the hell is wrong with researchers for our side?  This is exactly the type of example that we've needed to trump the most frequently invoked wingnut rationale for getting rid of the filibuster for judicial nominations.  

    •  It is not about legal nicities- raw politics (none)
      I think the "debate" in the Senate is a audacious waste of time. There folks, on both sides, have frozen in so hard, due to the demands of their constituents, that for either side to back off now would be seen as a fatal weakness.

      They can and should hold the votes now, why in the name of all that is holy do we have to watch the preordained words fall from the lips of Senators.

      It is time to vote- put the light on the cockroaches and make them make a stand, profile in courage, profile in political dedication, profiles in cowardice, profile in something, then we can face the real question: do we as Democrats and liberals grind the Senate to a crawl?

      Perhaps Bush & Co. want this, their Social security plan is so unpopular, they NEED someone to blame for their inaction on real issues.

      If they break the rules, they know what they are doing, there are many GOP Senators who do not want this, but if they want to stay in their party and go on as leaders in their party, then they will toe the line.

      I do not think there are that many moderate Republicans anyway, Hagel and others talk the talk of common sense, but when crunch time comes they fold like a cheap suit.

      •  Don't blame the Constituents (none)
        There folks, on both sides, have frozen in so hard, due to the demands of their constituents, that for either side to back off now would be seen as a fatal weakness.

        The thing is, the Republicans are not listening to their constituents' demands. They're listening to their misguided party leadership. The polling shows that most people are in favor of keeping the fillibuster the way it is:

        Filibuster Poll: Dems on right side of issue

        "I won't be your monkey."

        by ThatsNotFunny on Fri May 20, 2005 at 07:07:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Blue Slip (none)
      This is referring to the old blue slip rule where senators from a judges home state could block a nominee.  It was just an agreement by the judiciary committe- it didn't require any sort of senate supermajority to change.  I don't think that your republican friends will deny this happened.
      •  Right, but the question is, how and when and why (none)
        did the Repubs change that rule?  They keep saying all nominees deserve "an up or down"  (if I hear that many more times, I WILL kill my TV...) when in fact thay prevented it by hook or by crook many times.
        •  no, what they say is (none)
          All nominees with majority support deserve an up-and-down, and they will not discuss the reasons why Clinton's nominees lacked such support.

          "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

          by Adam B on Fri May 20, 2005 at 06:33:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's why this example is significant (none)
            It happened when the Dems had a majority. There are plenty of other, more recent examples of blocking nominations when the GOP controlled the Senate.

            Hatch also uses a second phrase: "an up-or-down vote for nominees that reach the floor." That particular sleight of hand would be used here. He is a man of remarkably flexible principles.

            I've got blisters on my fingers!

            by Elwood Dowd on Fri May 20, 2005 at 06:47:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Majority (none)
            All nominees with majority support deserve an up-and-down, and they will not discuss the reasons why Clinton's nominees lacked such support.

            There's no evidence (that I came across anyway) that John Tait lacked majority support, yet Craig and Kempthorne blocked him anyhow.

            •  this, however, is the key (none)
              It removes the last excuse of the Republicans, forcing them to instead defend a principle that it's okay to stop a nominee with majority support based on one Senator, but not 40+.

              "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

              by Adam B on Fri May 20, 2005 at 10:10:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  they already changed that rule (none)
          so that no single Senator can "blue slip" a nominee from his state anymore.  thus the transfer of focus to the full Senate...

          acm

          Those who would trade an essential freedom for temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security. ................ Benjamin Franklin

          by redfox1 on Fri May 20, 2005 at 08:17:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There's Only One Truth But There Are Many Lies (none)
      The problem with doing oppositional research against an opponent who is simply willing to make shit up is that there's no end to it.  The GOP case in this matter is built on a foundation of lies.  Every time you point out that they're lying, they can just come up with another one.  What makes it work for them is that they simply don't give a damn about reality or the truth.  This is about brute political force and the only thing they will respond to is more brute political force. It's all that they understand.

      So while I find the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel game of exposing their lies fortifying, the rubber will hit the road when Reid starts revealing what parliamentary tricks he has up his sleeve. And I certainly hope that he has some!

      "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by GreenSooner on Fri May 20, 2005 at 05:11:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Confirm (none)
      Well, if you want to confirm this, you'll either need to go to a library or find a way to access Lexis, West, Proquest or the like.
    •  Tait Blocked by Idaho (R) Senators (none)
      It is true.  I have personal knowledge of this particular matter.  The facts as stated are accurate.  John Tait, a good man and a really nice guy, received a very, very raw deal.
  •  perhaps even more relevant... (none)
    is that the Republicans attempted to filibuster Clinton appointees Paez and Berson in 2000.  They lost the cloture vote.  This is highly relevant since a) it was in 2000; b) some of the same senators (Frist) voted for the filibuster.

    I would like the media to bring this up every time any right-wing pundit or senator says that the democrats are being obstructionist.  Can we send letters to them every time they forget to bring it up.

  •  More info on the republican Agenda (none)
    Each of these links gives insight into why we filibuster and supposedly why the far right wants to end the filibuster.

    http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.all,pubID.17683/pub_detail.asp

    http://www.bazelon.org/takeaction/alerts/11-5-03rogersbrownnomination.htm

    Here is the Republican Playbook on "fact & myths" regarding filibusters..

    http://www.nrlc.org/Judicial/FilibusterMythFact.html

    Another copy from a hate group, i mean 'fair judiciary' group

    http://fairjudiciary.campsol.com/cfj_contents/reports/041305.shtml

    Some info on republican filibusters:

    http://www.kerndemocrats.com/stories/storyReader$1893?print-friendly=true

    some good/bad reading here

    http://www.byronmiller.org

    by byronm on Fri May 20, 2005 at 03:13:19 AM PDT

    •  Wow, the Right to Lifers Made Classic... (none)
      ...Web design mistakes.

      Their logo, which is the most important part of a branded Web page is badly-rendered, badly antialiased and a HUGE waste of space. Their stupid JavaScript rollovers extend beyond their useless, space-wasting header (not even a Home link), which demolishes their design. There's no DOCTYPE, which is the equivalent of a teacher with no knowledge of basic science and logic, there are some silly mistakes that render the page an accessibility failure. They don't bother to give Spanish-speakers even their badly-done banner. The damn floating navbar is one of those awful DuHTML disasters that insists on obscuring all relevant content in favor of the obnoxious serif-font rollovers, rendering the site darn near unusable.

      This is the result of about one minute of browsing around the disaster. I'm sure that a real audit would result in a more comprehensive critique.

      By the way, I've never had an abortion (I'm male), and none of my immediate family have ever had one. I firmly believe that, unless you have had to experience the thing yourself, you have absolutely no business whatsoever telling others what to do.

      However, I do design Web sites, and have extremely strong opinions on design and usability, so I will provide a brief analysis.

      "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

      by Heronymous Cowherd on Fri May 20, 2005 at 05:16:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  cases like these? (none)
        I firmly believe that, unless you have had to experience the thing yourself, you have absolutely no business whatsoever telling others what to do.

        I guess that means that

        i can't tell teachers not to have sex with students, (good news for Mary Kay Letourneau)

        i can't tell people to not molest children, (good news for Michael Jackson)

        i can't tell people to not commit murder. (Good news for Arab Terrorists)

        You may wish to consider the absoluteness in that statement.

        •  Good Point (none)
          Yeah, absoluteness is a problem.

          I just got awful upset reading some of the comments in other postings.

          We all have so many opinions on issues about which we have no clues.

          As someone who has lived overseas, travels extensively, has a very interesting life experience and personal spiritual experience, I can see that we are getting as bad as them.

          That being said...

          i can't tell teachers not to have sex with students

          No, you can't; but the police can.

          i can't tell people to not molest children, (good news for Michael Jackson)

          No, you can't; but the police can.

          i can't tell people to not commit murder. (Good news for Arab Terrorists)

          No, you can't, and neither can their priests.

          When we ignore the societal infrastructure that we created, and take matters into our own hands, then we become nothing but monkeys flinging doo-doo.

          "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

          by Heronymous Cowherd on Fri May 20, 2005 at 07:27:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There I Go With the Absolutes Again... (none)
            You can tell ayone to do anything you want. It's a free country (so far). The trick is to have the vested authority to make your commands stick.
            Unless Rev. Sung Myung Frist and The Unification Church get their way, there will be no legal authority to back up the shrill cries of "Thou shalt [not]".
            That's why we have laws and enforcement authorities.
            As someone who has lived in some decidedly lawless parts of the world, I have a great deal of respect for a society based on laws and societal structure.
            As someone who has to deal regularly with people from very different cultures, I completely agree with your statement on absolutes. That's one reason why the thought of someone like John Bolton (or George Galloway) in a diplomatic post is so painful, and why your admonition is so well taken.

            "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

            by Heronymous Cowherd on Fri May 20, 2005 at 08:25:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  more thoughts (none)
              You can tell anyone to do anything you want. It's a free country (so far). The trick is to have the vested authority to make your commands stick.

              Thus we try to pass laws, even in cases like I mentioned above where we have no direct experience. If I as a person who has never had sex with students, never molested a child nor committed a murder can have laws passed preventing others from doing them, then likewise as a male I could advocate for a law preventing abortions.

              That's why we have laws and enforcement authorities.

              Laws that are passed by the majority of people who have had no direct experience with the matters considered.  A a free country, we are free to pass the laws we think best (so long as they are consistent with the constitution). A direct experience requirement for people to pass laws is not a part of the system, nor should it be.

              Imagine if only rape victims could craft rape laws? Or would it be only the rapists making those laws? If the former, then the penalties might well be the most tortuous deaths imaginable. If the latter, then there would be no penalties at all. Those involved are often those least able to craft good laws.

              Or environmentalists should let the oil companies write the environmental laws for the oil industry.

              •  Well, I Guess... (none)
                ...we'll just continue to see things differently. Thanks for the correction. I rated your post well in appreciation.
                After all, we're all in this together, mais non?

                "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

                by Heronymous Cowherd on Fri May 20, 2005 at 10:45:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  ...While in Minority? (none)
    Can this account of things be correct?  How could Democrats hold a 56-44 advantage in the Senate and, simultaneously, Orrin Hatch be the ranking member of the judiciary committee?  I'm missing something. (Probably obvious to somebody out there what it is, but fill me in.)
  •  near topic (none)
    On the topic of the Nuclear option--

    I am thinking that Frist probably doesn't even care that much if the nuclear option passes.  This is about him getting the support of the far right.  If he goes to the mat for them and loses, he can go back and say that he did all he could and then continue to play up the 'republicans are persecuted' theme.  Win or lose--either way--he wins the hearts of Dobson and company...I wonder if there are enough moderates left in the republican party to derail a hard right candidate from getting the nomination.  Remember, Bush ran the first time as a (fake) moderate.

    •  Frist is expenable (none)
      I am thinking that Frist probably doesn't even care that much if the nuclear option passes.

      It is something he has been pushed into as the price of being viable as a presidential contender.  But I think they are fooling him on that.  The only reason the right might settle for someone like Frist is if they needed a candidate who, while one of them, seemed moderate. But Frist is not really one of them and after this there is no way he can be made to seem moderate. They are willing to push him to do this precisely because he is expendable.

  •  you know... (none)
    the memory hole was a helluva lot wider back before the internet came about. now its surrounded by bloggers batting away everything that gets tossed in.

    good work!

    alcohol and night swimming. it's a winning combination!-l.leonard

    by chopper on Fri May 20, 2005 at 04:13:33 AM PDT

  •  Blue Slips (4.00)
    I'm sure you'll find other blue slip casualties from 1993-94., but they've already covered this contingency.  When Frist, Gray and others have excused Republican behavior in the 1990s, they stress (a) the claim that nominees didn't have majority support (i.e., because Republicans didn't want to defer to the President at all); and (b) that they nominees failed to have home-state support.  Example.

    However, remember this: Hatch first changed the blue slip rules post-2000 so that now both home state senators have to oppose to make a block, then, basically, abandoned the rules altogether when it came to Michigan.

    That said, I have long argued to conservatives that if it's moral for a minority of one to block a nominee, surely 40+ can as well.

    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

    by Adam B on Fri May 20, 2005 at 04:18:06 AM PDT

    •  Home (none)
      Well, Tait was supported by both LaRocco (obviously) and Idaho's (Democratic) governor at the time, Cecil Andrus. So he certainly had home-state support.
      •  irrelevant (none)
        Under the blue slip rules, it's only the Senators that matter.

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Fri May 20, 2005 at 10:09:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (none)
          I understand - but I meant it as a talking point, not as a matter of Senate procedure. "Even though he had the support of his Congressman, his Governor and a majority of the Senate, two rogue senators still blocked Tait's nomination." That sort of thing.
  •  Sigh (4.00)
    This is just getting absurd, now. In their quest to cling to their "unprecedented" meme, they've pushed the goalposts back, out of the stadium, down the freeway, and somewhere past the orbit of the moon.

    By next Tuesday, they're going to be arguing, red-faced, with flecks of spit in the corners of their mouths, that the Democrats' judicial filibuster must be stopped for the sake of our Constitution, because the GOP has never used it against nominees named Janice, between the second weeks of May and June, in an odd-numbered year, while the Dow was over 10000, under a President with four letters in his last name, in a time of war with Iraq.

    Dishonesty can back you into some bad corners, can't it.

  •  I'd sure like to have a 56-44 advantage in our (none)
    favor again.  Those were the days.

    Reality is just... a point of view - Philip K. Dick; Beautiful thing, the destruction of words. (from Orwell's 1984)

    by LionelEHutz on Fri May 20, 2005 at 04:56:57 AM PDT

    •  Don't be fooled by numbers... (none)
      56-44 was not what it seemed.  Some of the 56 could just as easily fit in with the 44 if you didn't have a label to identify them.

      In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

      by TampaCPA on Fri May 20, 2005 at 05:06:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And You Lost 'Em Fair and Square (none)
        The disaster of the 1994 elections happened because Clinton politically mishandled some big issues (notably gays in the military, healthcare, and the budget...though he managed to get the last of these more or less done as he wanted), Democrats in Congress did a crappy job of framing their response, and Frank Lutz did a quite brilliant job of selling America on the GOP "plan."

        But it is also true that a lot of what Democrats lost in 1994 were folks from the far right end of the party.

        "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

        by GreenSooner on Fri May 20, 2005 at 05:18:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  1994 (none)
        And two of those 56 - Shelby and Nighthorse Campbell - switched to the GOP after 1994.
  •  The 56-44 Advantage.... (none)
    The GOP better remember that was just eleven years ago. That pendulum can swing back pretty quick.
    I did find interest that the GOP "show" on the Capital steps yesterday only had the 17 "new" Senators demanding their right to vote up-or-down. If my math is correct, that leaves 38 GOP'ers who for some reason weren't figured into a show of support for Frist and the nuclear option. Regardless of the explanation of just using the newbies, I think this shows a great division in the GOP that we can capitalize on.
    The oldsters know the ropes and know how the game has been and is to be played.
    •  redstate/bluestate (none)
      Republicans are just looking at the fact that there are more redstates than blue states.  (don't have the numbers handy)  And with the increased partisanship they think it is going to be exceedingly difficult for democrats to pick up seats in republican states.  And over the medium term they are probably right.  But once you are talking about the changes that could affect the country once birthrates come into play all bets are off.  
    •  things may get worse before they get better... (none)
      In the next election cycle, there are only 14 republicans up for election, but 17 Democrats + Jeffords(I). So there could easily be 56-57 Republicans after the 2006 cycle.

      The best chances for democrats there are the Northeast trio of Snowe/Chafee/Santorum from D leaning states + Allen/Burns who won with <55% of the vote.

      Best for republicans i guess would be Jeffords&Corzine&Dayton who are leaving + 2 Nelsons/Stabenow/Bingaman/Cantwell.

      Democrats won't have a real chance to make headway till 2008 (22R -12D). If they can't make major inroads then, then we're probably looking a well over a decade of republican control.

  •  Someone needs to make up a big board.... (none)
    ...with these stats on it...and give it to Schumer...so he can blast the GOP with it today and next week on the Senate floor!

    I just love watching him work :-)

    Enemies are so stimulating. - Katharine Hepburn

    by califdweller on Fri May 20, 2005 at 06:36:16 AM PDT

  •  Up or Down Vote (none)
    Your point about what they were doing in '93 & '94 nullifies their claim to have been "docile" during this period.

    And we can also challenge their behavior once they were in the majority: by bringing up their favorite phrase, "up or down vote".

    They like to say that this is not about majorities or minorities, about checks and balances or about compromise. They say that this boils down to one simple thing: allowing an "up or down vote". All they want is an "up or down vote."

    So why didn't they allow 60 of Clinton's nominees to get an "up or down vote"? It doesn't matter if they were in the majority: they blocked voting. That's the issue here.

    It doesn't matter how you do it (filibuster, in-committee), or how much of the Senate you control. It's about an "up or down vote".

    They did not allow an "up or down vote" on 60 of Bill Clinton's nominees. They blocked, they obstructed, and they didn't allow an "up or down vote".

    And now they turn around and attack Democrats for doing the same thing. As usual, Republicans show themselves to be hypocrites.

  •  This isn't a filibuster (none)
    ...successfully blocked Tait's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    This means that the nomination never got out of committee.  Filibuster is something that happens on the floor, during debate of the whole Senate (essentially keeping debate open perpetually), while these games were played in committee.  Still obstructionism on judicial nominees, but not a use of the filibuster by any meaningful definition.

    acm

    Those who would trade an essential freedom for temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security. ................ Benjamin Franklin

    by redfox1 on Fri May 20, 2005 at 08:19:42 AM PDT

  •  Also lost in this "majority" discussion (none)
    ... at least in the media, is that the 44 Democratic senators have garnered a "majority" of the popular votes cast for the current slate of Senators - depsite holding a minority of the seats...

    Will of the people my ass...

    "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

    by mlangner on Fri May 20, 2005 at 08:28:20 AM PDT

  •  Lost in this argument . . . (none)
    You correctly note that "One claim the GOP likes to make is that they were justified in blocking many of Clinton's judicial nominees in the 90s because they were in the majority in Congress."

    Here is what I don't get about that argument: implicit in the argument is the sense that it is ok for a majority to use anti-majoritarian tactics (i.e. block an up or down vote) but it is not ok for a minority to use anti-majoritarian tactics.  This seems, well, assinine.

    Of course Republicans could claim that they did not want to defeat Clinton's nominees in a straight up or down vote because they wanted to spare Clinton from the embarassment.  But not even Hatch could deliver that with a straight face.

    When Republicans argue that these nominees deserve an up or down vote, they need to be asked if Clinton's nominees deserved the same.  Without regard to whether they were blocked by filibuster or some other tactic.

    •  committe vote is not anti-majority (none)
      implicit in the argument is the sense that it is ok for a majority to use anti-majoritarian tactics (i.e. block an up or down vote) but it is not ok for a minority to use anti-majoritarian tactics.  This seems, well, assinine.

      The candidate goes down if a MAJORITY of the committee votes against him. So for a candidate to be voted down in committee seems like a majoritarian tactic.

      •  I suppose it depends . . . (none)
        on what we mean by "majority".  If the Republicans demand an "up or down" vote then clearly committee action can be anti-majoritarian as it may deny the majority of Senators the opportunity to confirm a nominee.  
        •  yep, it does (none)
          Though since the committee majority reflects the overall senate majority party, i expect that candidates that fail to survive committee would also fail in the full senate vote.

          The committee vote itself is an 'up or down' vote. A nominated judge has to survive 2 'up or down' votes as the current process works. Thats kinda the point of the committee...to weed out some candidates without taking up the entire senate.

          I wonder if it has always been that way.

          •  Not so sure (none)
            "i expect that candidates that fail to survive committee would also fail in the full senate vote".  In some cases this is probably right but I suspect in most instances the leadership was more worried about the Chafees/Snowes/etc of their party voting to confirm.  
  •  Media chill, or just sucking up to officeholders? (none)
    I don't know whether this has more to do with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting leader instituting "ombudsmen" to ensure that no NPR news story is too objectionable for his fellow conservatives or with the established practice of broadcast news reporters refraining from asking pointed questions of officeholders, to preserve their "access" ("Gee, if I ask him a tough question, maybe he won't return my phone call next time.").

    While I was driving home late yesterday afternoon, I heard an interview on "All Things Considered" on NPR--Michele Norris interviewed Sen. Orrin Hatch about the fight over judicial nominees, and was she nice to him!  

    Sen. Hatch kept repeating the Republican talking points, over and over, and Ms. Norris didn't ask one question about Republicans blocking Clinton nominees.  She just kept serving Hatch softballs and not complaining when he replied with the talking points, instead of answering her easy questions.    

    We're all in this together

    by JTML on Fri May 20, 2005 at 01:42:07 PM PDT

  •  Here's the article that David is looking for (none)
    From Crooksandliars

    President Clinton's nomination of Lewiston attorney John R. Tait for federal judge is dead because of the Republican takeover of Congress, outgoing Idaho Congressman Larry LaRocco announced Tuesday.

    Two weeks ago, LaRocco urged Clinton to resubmit the nomination of his former campaign treasurer to the U.S. Senate next year, contending Tait would be confirmed under a full and fair confirmation process.

    ''I've talked to the White House counsel and it is clear that the president will not move ahead with a number of qualified judicial nominations, including John's, because of opposition in the Senate,'' the only Democrat in Idaho's congressional delegation said in a prepared statement. ''I'm saddened for John, a fine person and an excellent attorney, who along with his family has waited patiently nearly two years to serve his state.''

    President Clinton nominated Tait to one of Idaho's federal district judge posts in August, 18 months after LaRocco made his original recommendation.

    Two months ago, U.S. Sens. Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne successfully blocked Tait's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. LaRocco said partisan politics were to blame before he lost to Boise natural resources consultant Helen Chenoweth in the Nov. 8 election. Idaho's two Republican senators said Tait lacked the necessary qualifications.

    Craig and Kempthorne's spokesmen Tuesday declined to comment on LaRocco's announcement.

    ''Sure it is disappointing,'' Tait said Tuesday afternoon. ''I gave it a good run. We'll just go back to work. ... I'm only 48. I'm sure there will be other interesting adventures.''

    He said he intends to remain in Lewiston and continue his 20-year-old law partnership with outgoing Idaho Rep. Paul Keeton, D-Lewiston.

    In a prepared statement, Tait said what appeared to be a simple selection and review of a successor to U.S. District Judge Harold Ryan, who assumed part-time senior status in December 1992, turned into a long political battle.

    ''Since I have been actively involved in the political process for many years, I was well aware of the pressures that might be exerted to block any nomination or any nomination for this position in Idaho,'' he said. ''Unfortunately that process has been used to first drag out the selection process, to delay it and now to block any nomination.''

    Tait said the many people who told him they hated to see him leave will be pleased he will stay in town.

    ''My children are also pleased as they can stay in schools they love and where they have had fine teachers and wonderful friends,'' he said of his two daughters. ''My wife, Christina Bjornstad, will be able to continue her medical practice without the distraction of a possible move. Many of her patients told me I could go but she had to stay.''

    Tait said he wishes whoever is nominated for the federal judicial post the best of luck in surviving the selection process.

    ''There is a great need to have a new district judge confirmed to help our current fine district judges deal with the duties,'' he said.

    LaRocco said Idahoans interested in the judicial nomination should contact the White House directly. Two weeks ago, Idaho Auditor J.D. Williams said he assumed the Clinton administration would ask him to make a recommendation if Tait's nomination was no longer viable. Williams will be the state's top-ranking Democrat next year.

    ''J.D. is not a player in this,'' LaRocco's press secretary, Tom Knappenberger, explained. ''That's the way the White House wants it.''

    Williams said LaRocco's announcement about the death of Tait's nomination caught him by surprise. He said he was told the Clinton administration would give a lot of consideration to a recommendation.

    ''I am going to make a recommendation as quickly as possible,'' Williams said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his Boise office. ''They'll take other recommendations, too.''

    He said he doesn't know whether Clinton will heed his recommendation, but he will consult with other Democrats before forwarding it.

    ''I think it is necessary we move very rapidly because we have been without a judge for nearly two years,'' he said. He said he is disappointed the Clinton administration won't proceed with Tait's nomination because he was well qualified.

    Outgoing Idaho Attorney General Larry EchoHawk, U.S. District Court Magistrate Larry Boyle of Boise and former U.S. Attorney and Idaho Board of Education member M. Karl Shurtliff of Boise could be among those seeking the lifetime judicial appointment.

    But EchoHawk, who will start a temporary job as a law professor at Brigham Young University in Utah next month, blasted Clinton's character in Twin Falls two months ago before he lost the governor's race.

    He told the Twin Falls newspaper's editorial board that Clinton ''failed almost immediately'' as president and needs ''some basic moral values about what's right and wrong, and enough gumption, I guess, to stick to it.''

    He later said Clinton does know right from wrong and contended his previous remarks were speculation about Clinton's presidency and why his approval numbers were the way they were in Idaho.

    EchoHawk, who also recommended Tait for the federal bench, has said he wouldn't seek the post unless Tait voluntarily withdrew his nomination.

    GRAPHIC: John Tait

    LOAD-DATE: December 15, 1994

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