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Detonation

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The filibuster for circuit and district court nominees and executive branch appointments is gone. Never thought I’d see the day, and this will almost certainly be the most important vote of Obama’s second term. Luckily, 1)the GOP seems to have the same evaluation of Reid as the typical liberal blog commenter, and 2)they’re both wrong.

More later today. Meanwhile, surely someone has the chops to do a good photoshop of Dick Smothers in Casino

As you hear the reactions, remember the the GOP’s opposition to majority rule in the Senate is a matter of Deep Principle.

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  • Orpho

    Slightly-more-functioning democracy ahoy!

  • jetsam

    About time. I am pleasantly surprised. Now let’s line up all pending appointments for a vote.

    • Orpho

      According to the NYT, they just rolled the first one through, with the other 2 coming after Thanksgiving. I didn’t expect it of them! But I guess enough is enough.

      • JKTHs

        As I linked way below, one of the DC circuit judges was confirmed by a 55-something vote.

  • The typical liberal blog commenter

    We love you too, Scott!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Our commenters, of course, are mostly aytpical!

      • And their children are all above average!

        • And he himself has said it/and its greatly to his credit.

          • rea

            But in spite of all temptations,
            To belong to other blog nations,
            He remains at LGM!

            • elm

              He is the very model of a moderate liberal blogger.

              • IM

                For I’ll teach you all, ere long,
                To refrain from language strong,

                • Marek

                  It’s not cricket
                  To picket

  • jackrabbitslim

    No shit! That makes me smile.

  • Anon21

    This is basically what I thought would happen. Either the GOP would cave or the filibuster would get trashed. I’m pretty surprised that the GOP did not cave, but not at all surprised the Reid had the votes to get this done. What the GOP was doing here was just ludicrous, and something the Democrats absolutely could not have allowed to continue. And you know what? If Pryor and Levin’s votes had actually been needed, they might have gone along, too.

    • GOP: worst game of chicken players evah. They just never know when to pull back from disaster.

      • Anon21

        Well they did on the NLRB/CFPB fight, which is why this miscalculation came as a surprise.

        • NBarnes

          I honestly thought that the NLRB/CFPB cave by the GOP meant we wouldn’t be here. Why cave there only to set off the Nuclear Option now?

          • Anon21

            Best guess: interests of the “moderates” who would have been expected to cut the deal diverged too far from the interests of the GOP caucus as a whole, which probably preferred to keep the filibuster even at the price of allowing the D.C. Three to be confirmed. The mods have been tasked with trading off on cloture votes for executive nominations to keep the NLRB deal in place since it was hammered out, and they may have just gotten tired of all the dishonest carping from their colleagues about what traitors and sellouts they are. Now they get to vote with the rest of the caucus and don’t have to stick their necks out and maybe get primaried.

          • Brett Turner

            The GOP’s interest in getting rid of the filibuster varies directly with the likelihood that they will win the next presidential election. The Obamacare rollout fiasco gives them more confidence in their chances for 2016, so they are less willing to cut a deal to preserve the filibuster.

      • Matt

        They just never know when to pull back from disaster.

        There’s a huge difference between “not knowing when” and “not caring when”. The teahadis heard that taking down the filibuster rule for judges might destroy the Senate, and they were so aroused at “destroy” they simply couldn’t help themselves.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Me, too. My money was certainly on a very small GOP cave to hold this all off for at least another cycle of filibustering. Surprised–and delighted–that they didn’t cave and the Democrats made their day.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        …though I suppose, in the Dirty Harry analogy, it’s the Republicans who, in not caving, made the Democrats’ day.

        • Marek

          How many vacancies do you think I’ll get, punk? Do you feel lucky? WELL DO YA?!

  • joe from Lowell

    Luckily, 1)the GOP seems to have the same evaluation of Reid as the typical liberal blog commenter, and 2)they’re both wrong.

    Somehow, some way, this happened against the wishes of Barack Obama and Harry Reid, and demonstrates the power of leftist protest politics.

    • taylormattd

      Heh.

      • Fake Irishman

        indeed.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Thanks to the closet Republican Barack HOOVER Obama, the Senate GOP will now be getting even more of everything they want!

      • Now if we can just get him to nominate socialist to the D.C. Circuit!

        • Bill de Blasio may be available. If not, may I recommend Charline McCray?

          • Bart

            William Ayers is tanned, rested, and ready.

            • rea

              I’d love a federal judgeship! And I’m even sort of qualified! Uh . . . they don’t drug test, you do they?

              • Hogan

                And I’m even sort of qualified!

                That is so 1979.

                • rea

                  That is so 1979.

                  The year I was admitted to the bar, so I’m entitled.

              • Scott Lemieux

                I’m sorry, we’re looking more for radical Law Review editors. But thank you for your interest.

      • junker

        What’s the name for that Sully award for awful predictions?

        • benjoya

          The Dick Morris Award

          • joe from Lowell

            Does the trophy feature a gold-tone foot?

        • Malaclypse

          The JenBob.

        • Joe Manchin

          The Sully Award?

          • I’m shocked it’s not called the Krugman.

            • I think we should award you one.

              • Malaclypse

                Nah, Sharc already has the GENDERFRAUD!!! award. That’s like the Congressional Medal of Honor for blog commenters.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer

      Jill Stein would have done it twice!

      • joe from Lowell

        I really like Jill Stein. She’s brilliant, and competent, and mostly right. She dominated Deval Patrick in that gubernatorial debate, and he’s no slouch.

        I wish she’d get serious and actually work to get into a position of influence, instead of devoting herself to pointless protest campaigns.

        • Uncle Ebeneezer

          I had to share your “leftist protest politics” comment on FB just for the sake of my friend who at every progressive bump in the road loves to remind everyone “this is why I voted for Jill Stein.”

      • JKTHs

        She would have appointed Single Payer!

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Though, honestly, the ACA would be significantly better were it not for the filibuster (though it wouldn’t be a single-payer system).

          • JKTHs

            Certainly, and it would have been interesting to see the level of support among Democratic senators for the public option had they not had the ability to hide behind the 60 vote threshold.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Yup. I think A LOT of the “centrist” Democrats were adamantly opposed to the public option as a bridge too far for government involvement in health care. Why? Shopworn ideologies about the private sector, IMHO. ‘Twas a stupid opposition, but nonetheless a real one.

            • Fake Irishman

              If push came to shove, I think they had about 57-58. Lieberman and Nelson were the true holdouts. Landrieu, Prior, Lincoln and Bayh might have bailed if it were safe. I suspect Baucus would have voted “yes” if it came to a final vote.

          • Would it have been? The constraint on passage of PPACA was not the 51st Senator but the 50%+1 Rep. I know or at least strongly believe that Pelosi had at least several switchable no votes in her back pocket, but the initial vote had 2 votes to spare for it.

            how much more liberal could it have gotten without losing those two votes and a theoretically six to ten no votes that were willing to vote yes if needed?

            • I’m pretty sure the bill the House voted through had a public option included, and various other things that put it a good bit more liberal than the Senate version. Except for abortion, where the House bill had stricter restrictions than the Senate bill. Then Scott Brown took his seat before the two were reconciled, and we got stuck with the Senate bill plus whatever changes could get through reconciliation, and an executive order on the abortion restrictions to get Bart Stupack and his crew on board.

    • Hogan
      • joe from Lowell

        From Biven:

        The ‘nuclear option’ vote is an egregious overreach and highlights the same arrogant thinking of career politicians that also led to the government shutdown. As senator, I will fight the efforts of liberals like President Obama and Harry Reid to ensure they do not run roughshod over the rules yet again.

        That is the most incoherent gobbledegook I have ever seen. The level of nonsense really stands out even as a Tea Partier’s statement.

        • MAJeff

          Other than Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, is there an online TeaPartyBot? It seems to generate every single statement from every single one of them.

          • MAJeff

            I suppose everyone could just link the last three years of Sarah Palin’s page to “What Would I Say” to produce the next two years of GOP talking points.

        • Brett Turner

          The only way that statement makes sense is if Senator Biven would be so special that he would get five votes instead of one.

          Every Republican senator voted against it, I think, so it’s not like McConnell didn’t get his ducks in a row. He just didn’t have enough ducks.

        • Hogan

          Also note that the Tea Party now considers the government shutdown a bad thing.

          We have always been at war with Eastasia.

          • Of course it was a bad thing. Senator Biven would have made Obama pass the Ryan budget, and avoided the shutdown. Because he’s not a wimp like McConnell.

  • I thought I heard a high-pitched whining. Must be Senate Republicans.

    Another video choice would be Bill Cosby’s bit about the kids’ bath time.

    “OK you’ve fooled around long enough…”

    • jmack

      “And these brain damaged children have the nerve to act surprised!”

      • OMFSM.

        Someone must put together a picture of Reid holding a yardstick like a samurai sword as he stands over a cowering (but not soapy and naked) McConnell & Co.

        I am aware that finding a shot of Reid in which he looks like he is screaming “I. Have had. Enough of thiiiiiis!” is too much to ask.

        • catclub

          Did you see the Reid tweet: “I am old enough to remember when Senator McConnell was in favor of up or down votes.”

        • Someone must put together a picture of Reid holding a yardstick like a samurai sword as he stands over a cowering (but not soapy and naked) McConnell & Co.

          Hmm, I like it, but I went a slightly different direction.

  • Well, damned if they didn’t. Huh.

    Now, will Obama get off his butt and NOMINATE FOR EVERY VACANT JUDICIAL SEAT?

    • ChrisTS

      Christ, I hope so.

      • I want to see ten nominations put in tomorrow morning. Rub their noses in it…

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I was just crabbing about this a couple of weeks ago and when I looked it up it turned out the administration is pretty much up to speed now, finally

      • Got a good link for that? My first thought on seeing this was to wonder how many vacancies, judicial and executive, haven’t even gotten nominees.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          was just looking for the Washington Post (I think)article I read saying that, and found a Brookings article that contradicts it, and also says states with repub senators have more of the open judgeships – they won’t even cooperate in the process of *finding* nominees, apparently

          so, shorter me: no, I don’t have a good link right now

        • Anon21

          This is just according to Wikipedia:

          Two vacancies without pending nominees on the Third Circuit (vacant since 6/21/13 and 7/1/13).
          One anticipated vacancy without a pending nominee on the Fourth Circuit (will become vacant 2/28/14).
          Two current vacancies and one anticipated vacancy without pending nominees on the Fifth Circuit (vacant since 2/3/12, 8/1/12, and as of 12/31/13).
          One vacancy without a pending nominee on the Sixth Circuit (vacant since 8/16/13).
          One vacancy without a pending nominee on the Seventh Circuit (vacant since 1/7/10).
          Two vacancies without pending nominees on the Eleventh Circuit (vacant since 7/15/12 and 10/26/13).

          So that’s ten. They should be able to find ten highly-qualified nominees in a month or so, although with vetting, you never know.

    • Yes yes yes yes!

      A great day!

  • howard

    so: how many open judgeships are there that can now be filled?

    my recommendation is that every single one of them be 43, on the grounds that if that was old enough for clarence thomas to join the supreme court, it’s old enough for any other judge, and let’s get some decent judges on the various courts for the next 3-4 decades.

    • Marek

      I’m 44…

      • Jason

        too old.

        • Marek

          My birthday was in October!

          • howard

            despite my fondness for symmetry, i’m prepared to grant a waiver for 44!

    • Informant

      43?!? I’m thinking he should nominate an entire slate of unemployed law school grads from the class of ’13.

      • Marek

        No, they just passed the bar, and are not bitter enough. ’10, ’11, and ’12.

  • andrew long

    I definitely worry about the likelihood that the GOP will, at first chance, summarily do away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. (I don’t worry about eliminating it for legislation–I’m ok with it either way for that.)

    But I think the risk is worth it. Even if Dems narrowly lose the Senate next year, which I don’t believe will happen, I’m confident they will retake it in 2016, even if Christie wins. 2016 is such a good cycle for Dems that they can gamble on this now, and move A LOT of crucial nominations to finally rectify the serious judicial and administration vacancies.

    This also allows people like Holder, Sebelius, and Duncan to exit at will (at the pleasure of the President), with no reason to worry about epic battles or vacancies there.

    • Brien Jackson

      It’s basically impossible to filibuster SCOTUS nominees anyway, so no matter.

      • andrew long

        but with this new landscape, I will bet the GOP threatens to filibuster Obama’s next SC choice from Day One, demanding real input on the choice from the outset. And then they’ll proceed to filibuster whoever it is, for as long as possible, just to screw Dems and Obama, and make it more likely that Dems or the nominee stumble or something is dredged up that ensures withdrawal. That may be the highest price of this move today. And I can live with that. On the next one (if it’s a liberal retiring), it’ll revert more or less back to normal. But on the first Dem chance to replace Kennedy or Scalia or Thomas, it will be armageddon. And that was always going to be the case.

        • junker

          The problem is that SC appointees are much higher profile than basically any other kind of judge; it’s such a high profile process that everybody covers it and serially filibustering SC nominees becomes impossible. See a long series of earlier posts at this blog about whether it’s feasible for a minority in the senate to keep SC justices filibustered.

          • Manny Kant

            Once the nuclear option’s been used once, why would the Republicans think it wouldn’t be used again?

            • Patricia Kayden

              Good point. If the Repubs act up, the Dems should nuke the filibuster for SC nominees.

        • philadelohialawyer

          Then let’s get rid of it for SCOTUS too!

          And for all legislation.

          The Fed is already rigged for non action. And the Senate is one giant gerrymander.

          Moreover, the GOP has decided that the centuries old tradition of bi partisan co operation no longer applies. They act as if they were the opposition party in a parliamentary system. But we don’t have a parliamentary system.

          The system we do have, with checks and balances and separation of powers, requires a certain spirit of bi or non partisan co operation. Or else nothing can be passed. And that, perhaps, suits the GOP just fine, because they actually WANT government to fail. We don’t. So we need the Fed to work. And it is hard enough to get it to work even when we hold all three parts of the two political branches (House and Senate, and POTUS), and hard enough to get and hold those parts, without having to worry about getting super majorities as well.

          Dump the filibuster rule! And Senatorial “privilege,” and Senatorial “holds,” and everything else that stands in the way of simple majority rule in Congress. Minority rights are guaranteed by SCOTUS, and majority rule is already tempered by that (judicial review) and by the fact of the three political parts with differing election schedules, and by the composition of the Senate. We don’t need further, extraconstitutional, checks on majority rule. We need more democracy, not less.

      • efgoldman

        It’s basically impossible to filibuster SCOTUS nominees anyway, so no matter.

        The TeaHadis manage to do two impossible things before breakfast. Other house, but did yo ever think the House would vote 45+ times to repeal a law that has no chance of being repealed?
        For that matter, ten years ago nobody thought it was possible that the Senate minority would block every fucking nomination the President sent them.

    • Yeah. We can prevent a disaster with the Supreme Court only by continually re-electing Democratic Presidents-that’s basically our only security. Other than that nothing prevents any Republican President from fucking us over.

      • Until SCOTUS flips properly, ie until two of Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas are replaced by nominees from a Democratic president, and both Ginsburg and Breyer have been replaced by younger Justices, then you can survive a Republican President. Not before.

      • We can prevent a disaster with the Supreme Court only by continually re-electing Democratic Presidents…

        Let us be frank. The GOP thinks the reason it keeps losing elections is they aren’t hardcore conservative enough. For the foreseeable future their presidential nominees will be selected by the amount of frothing they do when you show them a picture of a gay couple getting married.

        • ericblair

          For the foreseeable future their presidential nominees will be selected by the amount of frothing they do when you show them a picture of a gay couple getting married.

          I’d say that until there’s a wholesale rejiggering of political factions in the major parties, the Presidency is out of the goopers’ hands for good. Longer term, I think we’ll get the House reliably back in Dem control, but always have problems with the Senate and its set of essentially rotten boroughs. (Mental picture here of a bunch of wrinkly billionaires passing Wyoming around like a doob at a Dead concert.) So nixing the power of an entrenched Senate minority is long term good news.

          • Mental picture here of a bunch of wrinkly billionaires passing Wyoming around like a doob at a Dead concert.

            I’m now getting flashes of Ctcheney and Enzi in full Deadhead regalia arguing over who’s bogarting the joint.

            It is awesome.

            • Karen

              I don’t think there are enough drugs in the entire Central Time Zone, including the Mexico bit, to get that image out of head.

            • drkrick

              Mental picture here of a bunch of wrinkly billionaires passing Wyoming around like a doob at a Dead concert.

              Oddly enough, one of the Dead’s old lyricists and EFF poobah John Perry Barlow was the chairman of the Wyoming GOP for a while in the ’80’s. Don’t think his cut of the royalties amounts to a billion, though. He only worked with Bobby.

          • The key thing is a really good Democratic Presidential candidate in 2020 to flip a load of state legislatures and ungerrymander the House.

          • Malaclypse

            I’d say that until there’s a wholesale rejiggering of political factions in the major parties, the Presidency is out of the goopers’ hands for good.

            I’m so old that I remember the Permanent Republican Majority of 2004. They were overconfident then. We should not make the same mistake.

            • Me too, but I guess we also both remember when the GOP wasn’t packed full of bomb throwers who were being egged on by furiously masturbating pyromaniacs and aided by men who were financing the kerosene, bottles and rags.

              I just don’t see the GOP getting its act together enough field a candidate who can win a fair election. And I can’t believe I have to qualify fairness, but thanks to the GOP, I do.

              • Malaclypse

                In December 2004, they had not won a fair presidential election since 1988.

              • Greg

                Scott Walker could win both a primary and a general. Watch out for him.

                • zombie rotten mcdonald

                  I think you overestimate his chances. He’s never had his college career discussed in any detail, which will come into play in a primary.

                  In his ‘book’ he lied about why he left Marquette in ’90, saying it was because of his kids. Which weren’t even born until ’93. And he claimed to be on pace to graduate with a triple major, but after 3+ years was still 36 credits shy of any sort of degree. Plus, of course, there was his run at elected college office, which was plagued by corruption and questionable ethics.

                  And he is currently trying to tap-dance around a John Doe investigation (the Wisconsin equivalent of a Grand Jury).

                  Of course, by those standards he is pretty much a Standard Republican.

            • ericblair

              They were overconfident then. We should not make the same mistake.

              If history is any guide whatsoever, we’ll spend far more time bucking up the doomers and getting them out from under the coffee tables than throwing cold water on the premature administrators. So I’m not real worried.

          • Anonymous

            This presumes that some combination of huge political spending, a biased media, voting restrictions, and outright election fraud won’t flip say, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida into the Republican column once or twice more.

            • This is exactly what scares me.

              There are a lot of rubes in those states.

        • Frothing from where?

      • UserGoogol

        A majority in the Senate doesn’t hurt either. 51 votes still isn’t nothing. Of course, George H.W. Bush got Clarence Thomas appointed in that situation, but 1991 was a very different time in American history.

        But it’s certainly much better to have a Democrat in the White House.

    • Who cares? Democrats didn’t filibuster Bork, they defeated his nomination straight-up. They didn’t filibuster Scalia, or Alito, or Robert, etc.

      • andrew long

        Dems were in the majority for Bork. They would have filibustered him if necessary.
        Scalia, a year earlier, was no Bork. They should have opposed him more forcefully, but it came so soon after Rehnquist that there was no leverage left.
        Alito of course was a disaster. Kerry did attempt a filibuster, and 25 Senators voted for it. But when you have Dems like Byrd, Conrad, Johnson, and Nelson voting FOR final confirmation, you really don’t have a chance.
        And Roberts’s nomination was a masterful spin job. Umpire calling balls and strikes. That narrative won the day the moment it appeared in the NYT.

        This is all prologue. The landscape has been forever changed in the past ten years. If they still have the chance, Dems WILL filibuster Janice Rogers Brown. They WILL filibuster Miguel Estrada (again).

        • Crunchy Frog

          Thomas was confirmed 52-47 … not a single vote changed as a result of the Anita Hill hearings.

          The filibuster wasn’t even discussed.

          • drkrick

            Still shaking my head over that one. When the Hill hearings were being planned, Thomas was asked if he wanted to testify first or last. He asked to testify first AND last, got it, and still complained about being railroaded.

    • PeakVT

      The problem has always been asymmetrical. There has been (during recent Republican administrations) far more Dems willing to break ranks than Repubs. So if we get a Prez. Shouty Guy (Christie) and 55 Republican Senators in 2016, there would probably be 5 Dems who would go along with most nominees. So I think the fili should have been eliminated for SCOTUS nominees as well.

      • Lee Rudolph

        So I think the fili should have been eliminated for SCOTUS nominees as well.

        Why should one suppose it won’t be, if it comes to that?

        • PeakVT

          I think it would have been good to get all the media pearl-clutching over in one swoop.

  • Rob in CT

    It had to be done. There was no other choice but capitulation. I wish it had been done years ago, but better late than never. Now, fill those vacancies. Well.

    • philadelphialawyer

      “I wish it had been done years ago.”

      Me too. It seems at least possible that we are doing this within a year of the GOP taking over the Senate, which we have controlled since Jan 1, 2007.

      And now they have cover to re write the rules as it suits them, if they do take over. I, for one, think that, in the long run, the less supermajority requirements the better, but, still, I hardly look forward to them having the first go at things without them.

      • NonyNony

        Just note that rewriting the filibuster rules does them no good unless Republicans control the Presidency as well – anything egregious, Obama can veto.

        So the worry would be Republicans taking the Senate in 2014 then holding it in 2016 while electing a Republican president. To be honest, if Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the executive office then they SHOULD be allowed to pass whatever the fuck legislation that they want to pass. That’s how representative democracy works – this filibuster thing is stupid and the Democrats should have let the republicans kill it under Bush instead of cutting a deal to save it.

      • Manny Kant

        Why do they need cover?

  • rw970

    If I were Barack Obama, I would just be nominating people left and right, every day. You get a judicial appointment! And you get a judicial appointment! And you get a judicial appointment!

    • I want him to appoint people left and left.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        O can toss a few centerist bones to the repubs if he feels like it

        • advocatethis

          Nooo…that’s all they’ve gotten up til now, centrists. From now on it has to be all lefties. Of course, Obama would have to know of some first.

          • Patricia Kayden

            Why wouldn’t the Kenyan, Socialist, Communist, Marxist not know a lot of lefty leftwingers?

      • Marek

        Harrumph.

      • Barry Freed

        I approve of this message.

      • Chairman Bob Avakian

        Present, ready, and waiting!!!

        • IM

          You wait. Bill Ayers comes first. And then Rev Wright. And Noam Chomsky. And undead Alinsky.

          • MAJeff

            Don’t forget Zombie Derrick Bell.

            • Gregor Sansa

              Heck, I’d put zombie bell hooks before living Bob Avakian.

              • MAJeff

                It would be fun to read “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” in a SCOTUS decision.

                • I’m Nobody — what’s it to you?

                  Yes. Yes, it would.

  • Murc

    I expect that the White House will take some time, because of the optics, but probably after the Congress returns after the New Year they’ll just nominate someone for every vacancy.

    We might actually have a fully staffed judiciary for the first time in ages.

    • Orpho

      A fully staffed judiciary, but whether Congress permits their budgets to go through so that they’re actually _paid_, is a different matter. ./sighsob

      • Anon21

        Actually, Congress cannot keep judges’ salaries from being paid (or their own, for that matter).

        • Orpho

          Their staff and what they need for operations is a different matter. http://news.uscourts.gov/federal-judiciary-braces-broad-impact-budget-sequestration

          • Anon21

            True. The House GOP is welcome to shut down the government again based on the principle that the federal courts should not function, but I don’t think they will.

            • Orpho

              The link is actually about the effect of sequestration budget cuts – they don’t have to shut down the government in order to not properly fund the judiciary. They just have to not properly fund the judiciary.

  • Joe

    Now, if the Mets can make some good signings …

    This is great news. TPM has a bit where it seems to have occurred without much fanfare. Change at the end sometimes is like that.

    Black president, same sex marriage and now this. This too soon will be “ho hum” — I doubt if you asked the average person, they would even realize you needed 60 votes. Many more would wonder what took them so long. Thanks Reid and those that finally gave him the votes (52). And, both parties aren’t the same.

    • if the Mets can make some good signings

      One miracle per day.

      • I dunno

        The Tigers unloaded Prince.

    • Patricia Kayden

      I’m sure the fanfair is just about to hit the fan. I cannot imagine the Repubs taking this laying down. By tomorrow morning, fainting couches will be full of weeping Repubs and their rightwing supporters.

      • I have entered the fainting-couch-slipcover business.

      • Joe

        Sen. Lindsey “Beauregard” Graham might give them pointers.

        • MAJeff

          Has he stopped clutching the pearls long enough to wipe them off?

  • Njorl

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah

  • Reasonable 4ce

    It’s lunchtime, so I’m too lazy and drunk to check, but did DiFi actually vote to blow up the filibuster too? If she did, that’s more miraculous than the Jets winning the Super Bowl.

    Non-wingnut judges. Yippee!

    • Jim

      All Dems voted to limit except Manchin, Levin and Pryor.

      • UserGoogol

        As of the time I write this post, Carl Levin is making a floor speech about how the nuclear option is going to ruin everything forever. His opposition seems to be specifically limited to the use of the nuclear option.

      • Bartleby

        Levin is too old to vote for “radical” change. He just lets the radicals control things from within.

    • Fake Irishman

      She most certainly did.

      • Vance Maverick

        What Ms. 4ce up there said. It’s a miracle. Push must somehow, over the course of months and years, have come to shove.

  • I want to congratulate the Republicans for forcing Reid to get rid of the filibuster on the lifelong appointments, the most reasonable thing to have a filibuster on, if you’re going to bother with it.

    It was difficult, but you can really count on the GOP come through in the clutch.

  • mike in dc

    Hey, if the Dems can pick up 17 seats in the House and hold the Senate, they should get rid of the legislative filibuster next…and pass everything in the hopper in the first 90 days of the term. Whee!

    • PeakVT

      The Dems should, but the Democratic Party is still a broad coalition that includes about 2/3 of the political spectrum (from Manchin to Merkley). So it’s not going to happen. The legislative filibuster still gives right-wing Dems power they want to use.

      But maybe the Republicans can be suckered into forcing the Dems’ hand again. That would be nice.

  • I said it before, and I’ll say it again: given the realities of the U.S. Senate these days, Reid is the best anyone on the left side of the aisle could probably ever reasonably hope for, and he has demonstrated that fact, time after time. Another feather in Harry’s cap, says I.

    • joe from Lowell

      Back in the Bush administration, I used to diss Harry Reid a lot. I used to write that his testicles sucked up into his abdominal cavity whenever a Republican looked at him funny.

      I was an idiot. Harry Reid is every bit the legislative master that Nancy Pelosi is.

      • Greg

        I think the difference between then and now is that there are many fewer assholes in the Dem caucus now than there were then. It’s easier to look good when you’re working with Chris Murphy instead of Joe Lieberman.

        • JKTHs

          Also I think he did the gentlemen’s agreement earlier to show that it wouldn’t do shit to stop the Republicans from blocking nominees.

      • Linnaeus

        I used to write that his testicles sucked up into his abdominal cavity whenever a Republican looked at him funny.

        In a way, this reminds me of a dinner party I went to a few years ago hosted by a friend of a friend. Said host is a very conservative person who claimed that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were “hard left” politicians. I chuckled a bit and said that I considered Pelosi to be pretty mainstream liberal and Reid a moderate. That really floored him. He sputtered, “You think Harry Reid is…moderate?” He simply couldn’t believe that anyone would think that Reid wasn’t a a crazed Marxist.

        • sibusisodan

          Come on, tell the rest of the story. He’s a conservative, at a dinner party, so he has to have a devastating comeback which calls your paltry beliefs into question…

          • Linnaeus

            In dinner party myth, I suppose that would be the case. Truth is, he had no wry comeback. We decided to talk about sports instead.

    • philadelphialawyer

      When Reid fights, he is a knife fighter. And I mean that in the best way possible. But he doesn’t seem to like to fight too often, which I mean in the worst way possible!

      • Scott Lemieux

        Effective political leaders don’t make a big deal of picking fights they can’t win.

  • Book

    What is this good political news coming from the U.S. doing in my RSS feed.

    • flamingolingo

      Yeah, this is my second pleasant surprise from the Dems in two months. It’s taken 5 years, but they’ve finally ovaried up.

      • Marek

        I hope you trademarked that phrase.

  • Bruce Wilder

    This would seem to be a strong leading indicator of a Republican Senate in 2015.

    • Rigby Reardon

      Why?

      • Well, obviously, UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH!

      • rea

        And how the hell–2015?

        • Murc

          Er… yes? There are elections next November, and the people who win office in those elections will not be sworn in until… 2015.

  • DrDick

    Bravo! Two observations here: 1) About freaking time! and 2) It’s a good start, now kill it entirely.

  • ploeg

    One can only hope that this does permanent damage to the Senate.

    • JKTHs

      During my time in the Senate, I’ve played key roles in the Gang of 14 and other bipartisan coalitions to help us reach common-sense solutions that both sides of the aisle can support.

      “Both sides” meaning all Republicans and Mark Pryor.

      • Joe Manchin

        Me too! Me too!

        • Davis X. Machina

          That’s Joe “Nighthorse” Manchin, isn’t it?

  • UH-OH!
    Stand back!
    Stand back, or you’ll be deafened by the waling and shrieking!

    And don’t look, or if you do, wear protective goggles, becauser their tit’s will be in a hurricane-like uproar- and there might be flying debris!!

    Get the “Jaws-of-life,” to pry the knickers that will be knotted-up far past their colon’s!!!

    And put on Kevlar helmet’s, because the Republicans heads will explode!!!!!

    And, don’t listen, because ALL you’ll hear until Election Day 2014, is the Republicans whining and crying about how THEY ARE THE REAL VICTIMS!!!

    Completely innocent babe’s in the Washington woods!

    Victims of that Kenyan SocialiFasciCommuMusliHeathen Usurper’s TYRANNY!

    AND THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY!!!!!

    Which they desperately want to return to.

    AND WE CAN’T AFFORD, AS A NATION, TO HAVE HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      you’ve been listening to AM radio again haven’t you

      • howard

        jim, some guy from iowa: that is just brilliant.

  • rw970

    Now if only the Senate could vote to abolish itself, they’d finally be a force for good in American politics.

  • JKTHs

    I really can’t wait to read all the Village gnashing of teeth. It’s going to be highly entertaining.

  • Tom Servo

    Does…does this mean we’re going to finally fill all the federal court vacancies? Even the DC Circuit???!!

  • jeer9

    Shocked, but very pleased at this first step.

    • Brien Jackson

      I think this is as appropriate a time as ever to say: Go fuck yourself.

      • jeer9

        Sweet talk will get you nowhere.

        • Brien Jackson

          Hell, I assume it won’t get me out of your next 1,000 word rant on how Democrats will never end the filibuster because it’s central to their secret plot to let Republicans get their way 110% of the time!

          • jeer9

            It’s a first step but a very good one – and long overdue. When they nix it for legislation, you can give me another shout-out.

            • Brien Jackson

              Dear God, you’re worse than JenBob.

              • jeer9

                Hyperbole has always been your strong suit.

      • philadelphialawyer

        I agree, but only trivially. It always a good time to tell the GOP to go fuck itself!

  • Jesse Levine

    Scott, if your pick for the Super Bowl wins, will that create an opportunity to scoff at liberal blog commenters?

    • Brien Jackson

      ^Has a sad.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Never mind, what is your opinion on the GRAND BARGAIN Barack Obama is about to ram through a House of Representatives that loves them some tax hikes?

  • Malaclypse
    • junker

      Damnit Mal, how dare you mock such a “Scary and Dictatorial” move?

      • Davis X. Machina

        You know, it’s even more impressive put that way.

        Harry Reid, scary? Yeah, I can see it. And dictatorial? Of course — that describes him to a t.

        But scary and dictatorial? I didn’t know the alter kocker had it in him.

    • “I think what we really need is an anti-bullying ordinance in the Senate,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I mean, now we’ve got a big bully, Harry Reid says he’s just going to break the rules and make new rules. Never been done this way before.”

      Oh please, oh please, oh please, Harry Reid, punch Rand Paul’s teeth out and take his lunch money.

      • A swirly! A swirly! My kingdom for a swirly!

        • I feel the same way.

      • “Never been done this way before,” said half-term Senator Rand Paul about the actions of fifth-term Senator Harry Reid.

      • A Bully

        Careful, Sen. Paul. I am pretty sure that any anti-bullying ordinance you’re talking about interferes with my Firs-Amendment-protected right to gaybait my classmates. Because free exercise.

        • Malaclypse

          Ron Paul wants nothing to do with the likes of bullies!

      • Harry Reid held the Senate down and gave it a haircut while his friends watched and laughed.

        • Barry Freed

          +11

          • Njorl

            I’ll chip in another +1 to make it an even dozen.

            • dms

              How ’bout a bakers.

              +1.

        • herr doktor bimler

          The Democrats told me their god was ‘Aqua Buddha’ and that I needed to bow down and worship him,” the Senate recalls. “They blindfolded me and made me bow down to ‘Aqua Buddha’ in the creek. I had to say, ‘I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.’ “

      • herr doktor bimler

        “I think what we really need is an anti-bullying ordinance in the Senate,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I mean, now we’ve got a big bully, Harry Reid says he’s just going to break the rules and make new rules. Never been done this way before.”

        We need a new rule to stop Reid making new rules. What?

    • If only there were a way to bottle them. Years from now we could uncork a ’13 Rug Paul and savor the notes of hickory, coal and eye dilation drops.

    • NonyNony

      From the link:

      Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) declared on the Senate floor that his party wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees once they regain a majority.

      There you go Dems. When Obama gets another Supreme Court nominee in front of you, you better freaking remember what Grassley said here and hold him to it.

      • Yea, I like how the same article has Republicans decrying how awful of a move this is, and also calling to do the same thing.

        “This is totally un-American, and we’ll immediately move to do it later when we’re in power!”

        Did they forget they need to pretend to be outraged for at least an hour or two?

      • MAJeff

        Grassleuy then tweeted about his own fart.

      • Scott Lemieux

        The Dems will never get the chance to filibuster Sam Alito again!

    • joe from Lowell

      As a Democrat, I can vouch for the efficacy of the “whine that the other side is mean” messaging strategy.

      • drkrick

        Amen

  • Ralph Wiggum

    The genius is that Reid was able to take advantage of a clear example of Republican overreach and acted quickly in response to it in order to contain the rebellion within his own ranks to a few grumps and old-time hacks. No doubt if he’s tried to ‘negotiate’ with the GOP, the result would have been another agreement of ‘we won’t fillibuster your nominees unless they are really nasty, double pinky promise’, which they would have ignored in five seconds. What a master tactician. I am in awe.

    • Probably would have agreed to some tax cuts in exchange for the GOP promising not to filibuster judicial nominees, or did we already do that?

  • wengler

    I hope the lawsuit that comes out of this will be litigated in front of the very judges that were being filibustered.

    • efgoldman

      I hope the lawsuit that comes out of thi will be litigated in front of the very judges that were being filibustereds.

      No judge in the world is going to rule against either body of Congress making its own rules. Its in the Constitution.
      [This warranty does not apply in the case of make-pretend judges like Scalia, Alito, Brown or Owens.]

  • Manju

    This threatens the rights to dissent, to unlimited debate and to freedom of speech. It starts with shutting off debate on judges, but it won’t end there. It could destroy the Senate’s very essence — the constitutional privilege of free speech and debate.

    To understand the danger, one needs to understand the Senate. The Framers created an institution designed not for speed or efficiency but as a place where mature wisdom would reside. They intended the Senate to be the stabilizer, the fence, the check on attempts at tyranny. But this legislative nuclear option would mute dissent and gag opposition voices.

    Yes, Americans believe in majority rule, but we also believe in minority rights. Our liberties can be truly secure only in a forum of open debate where minority views can be freely discussed.

    • IM

      The Framers created an institution designed

      without the filibuster.

      • Brien Jackson

        Details schemtails.

      • dn

        Precisely. The first filibuster in Senate history occurred the year after Madison’s death – no Framer ever used it. The idea that it has any part in their vision of government is silly. It is nothing more than a means for hobbling consensus and enabling a tyranny of the minority.

        • DrDick

          Pretty much all of Manju’s ideas about politics are silly.

    • Candy’s Dog

      Meh

    • Jeremy

      Americans only believe in minority rights when rich and powerful people are in the minority.

      Also, it matters a great deal here that the Republicans did not want free speech and debate. They didn’t even pretend to be filibustering these judges for real reasons. They just didn’t want Obama’s nominees confirmed. Since Republicans were abusing the filibuster process, Democrats properly ended it so that they can get back to running the country.

      The Republicans lost the popular vote for the House, Senate, and Presidency. As a result, the Democrats get to govern. If Republicans want that to change, they need to convince people to elect them.

      • They just didn’t want Obama’s nominees confirmed.

        This. The right of the minority to come up with specious bullshit to prevent the President from doing the job he was elected to do is not an actual right that should be taken seriously.

    • Captain Haddock

      Wat

    • Guys, I honestly can no longer tell when Manju honestly believes crazy things and when he’s being sarcastic. Can someone help out here?

      • JKTHs

        Yeah I’m hesitating to respond for that reason. Poe’s paralysis.

      • Manju

        Many times in our history we have taken up arms to protect a minority against the tyrannical majority in other lands. We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men.

        But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that “Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.” And he succeeded.

        • Yeah, Manju, comparing filibuster reform conducted pursuant to rules of the Senate that everyone agrees exist to Nazi Germany is really not helping you in the “I am not a crank” evaluation.

          Can you just go ahead and tell us whether you’re joking or actually this nuts?

          • DrDick

            He lost that battle long ago.

        • Marek

          He’s got to be joking.

        • A horse

          Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it.

          So a filibuster would have prevented that how, exactly?

          • Hogan

            You know, I’m tempted to just revert to that nym permanently.

            • Malaclypse

              Since the filibuster is nuked, if you keep it Caligubama can nominate you.

            • Rigby Reardon

              It’s got potential.

          • Bilbo

            Also too: Seeing as a certain someone stampeded two-thirds (67%) of the German Reichstag into authorizing the Enabling Act, how would have a 60/100 threshold have stopped that?

        • Malaclypse

          We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men.

          And that is why we prosecuted high-level Bush Administration figures over war crimes, after earlier prosecuting all of the Iran-Contra wrongdoers. Or we would have, except Harry Reid broke Manju’s heart.

          • efgoldman

            And that is why we prosecuted high-level Bush Administration figures over war crimes, after earlier prosecuting all of the Iran-Contra wrongdoers hundreds of racist scum violent criminals in the South for crimes against black people, faithfully, for a hundred years after the Civil War.

            Oh, wait. Maybe we didn’t do that, either.

    • Marek

      I stopped reading at “mature wisdom.” Which was probably too late. You know who’s in the Senate, right?

      • the old ways are the good ways

        You know who else is in the Senate?

      • MAJeff

        You know who WAS in the Senate, right?

        • N__B

          Cato the Elder?

          • Bilbo

            Hitler?

            • Malaclypse

              Robert Bryd.

              • Wait, is it Obama? It’s Obama, right?

                Or, no! Clinton!

              • N__B

                For everything
                Turn turn turn
                There is a veto
                Turn turn turn

              • Needs more Robert Byrd.

        • Incitatus

          Neigh!

    • sibusisodan

      On the off chance this isn’t the world’s most subtle satire, exactly what minority views were being discussed in this judicial filibuster? I believe it was ‘we don’t think the President can just nominate judges as if there are vacancies or something, duh.’

      So, once you call that out as the unconstitutional bizzaritude which it most definitely is, we can have conversation about the role of mature wisdom in the senate.

      • Manju

        Without the filibuster or the threat of extended debate, there exists no leverage with which to bargain for the offering of an amendment. All force to effect compromise between the parties will be lost. Demands for hearings will languish. The President can simply rule. The President of the United States can simply rule by Executive order, if his party controls both Houses of Congress and majority rule reigns supreme. In such a world, the minority will be crushed, the power of dissenting views will be diminished, and freedom of speech will be attenuated. The uniquely American concept of the independent individual asserting his or her own views, proclaiming personal dignity through the courage of free speech will forever have been blighted. This is a question of freedom of speech. That is what we are talking about — freedom of speech. And the American spirit, that stubborn, feisty, contrarian, and glorious urge to loudly disagree, and proclaim, despite all opposition, what is honest, what is true, will be sorely manacled.

        • sibusisodan

          Without the filibuster or the threat of extended debate, there exists no leverage with which to bargain for the offering of an amendment.

          Have you told the House of Representatives about this? Cuz they’ve been doing in rong for quite some time now, if what you say is true, and they aren’t even aware they’re sorely manacled.

        • That Chicken

          At least get me some lube, dude.

        • Hogan

          This is a question of freedom of speech.

          Yeah, no. No one in the Senate has any less freedom to speak today than they had yesterday. They just don’t have the power to use their speech to keep the Senate’s legitimate business from being done.

        • Sloppy.

          The President of the United States can simply rule by Executive order, if his party controls both Houses of Congress and majority rule reigns supreme.

          The entire thing needs more Hitler. And a sprinkling of Mao.

          • MAJeff

            Almost needs more Mao-Mao.

          • Malaclypse

            Heavens. Surely you are not proposing that a governing party be allowed to govern?

          • sibusisodan

            Also, didn’t the republicans have both chambers and the presidency in the recent past? Where was the tyranny then? GWB couldn’t even convince ’em to privatise soc sec…

        • ExpatJK

          The uniquely American concept of the independent individual asserting his or her own views, proclaiming personal dignity through the courage of free speech will forever have been blighted.

          I would respond, but alas my Australian/New Zealand groupthink prevents it. Damn, if only I had that “uniquely American” idea of free speech! Which does not exist in any other country in the world!

    • Jamie

      mature wisdom

      When you find some in the Senate, please let us know.

    • The Framers created an institution designed not for speed or efficiency but as a place where mature wisdom would reside.

      ROTFLOL

    • A horse

      There’s a right to unlimited debate?

      • Manju

        We have heard the president call for an up-or-down vote on his judicial nominees. But nowhere in the Constitution is an up-or-down vote — or even a vote at all — guaranteed, and the president cannot reinterpret our nation’s founding document to achieve his political goals. Those who disagree with the president in this matter will be labeled “obstructionists,” but nothing could be further from the truth.

        • Malaclypse

          We have heard the president call for an up-or-down vote on his judicial nominees.

          We also heard most of the same people weeping today scream endlessly about up-or-down votes in 2005. Also, where, exactly, in “our nation’s founding document” is the use of the filibuster discussed?

          • IM

            We also heard most of the same people weeping today scream endlessly about up-or-down votes in 2005.

            That cite is probably from 2005.

            • Malaclypse

              Oh. He really is lame enough to be doing nothing but quoting Byrd. Because every liberal must agree with Byrd on everything. What a gotcha.

              • elm

                Yeah, this is all cut-and-pasted from a March 1, 2005 speech on the Senate Floor by Robert Byrd. Congrats Manju, you’ve demonstrated that Byrd could be an idiot. You win…something or other, I guess.

                • Malaclypse

                  I guess we are supposed to be shocked that people on a liberal blog could disagree with a Democrat. Because if there is anything that liberals are known for, it is never, ever disagreeing with one another. This is why the Democratic Party is known and feared as the monolith it is.

                • Y’know, to be fair, in 2005 I honestly did believe that retaining the filibuster for judicial nominees was an important thing.

                  I was also 19. I grew up.

                • Manju

                  I guess we are supposed to be shocked that people on a liberal blog could disagree with a Democrat.

                  Well, kudos for disagreeing and seeing how utterly ridiculous the narrative is.

                  But at the time, you did think the quotes were from an evil Repub who’s so deluded that he thinks international trade is good for the world’s poor, rent control bad, voting against the 1970 voting rights act means you are a segregationist, and citing Paul Krugman is good form.

                  But you know I love u all. its a goddamn filibuster post. u should’ve seen a byrd goof coming from miles away.

                • Hogan

                  You should hope you sound so good when you’re 87.

                • elm

                  It should also be noted that Scott, at least, has been consistent in calling for an end to the filibuster even when the Dems were in the minority. So Manju’s sequiter here is entirely non.

                • stepped pyramids

                  Yeah, five-billion-year-old institutional conservative Robert Byrd was a fan of the filibuster. This is a shocking revelation.

            • Manju

              Well, going with 1964 cites would’ve been just cruel.

        • Hogan

          the president cannot reinterpret our nation’s founding document to achieve his political goals.

          And he didn’t. 52 senators interpreted their own rules.

          • Malaclypse

            the president cannot reinterpret our nation’s founding document to achieve his political goals.

            That really is up there with “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

        • catclub

          “But nowhere in the Constitution is an up-or-down vote — or even a vote at all — guaranteed”

          You are right. But I learned from Thomas More that Silence implies consent, so if the senate does not vote, they consent to the nomination. Fair enough?

        • But nowhere in the Constitution is an up-or-down vote — or even a vote at all — guaranteed,

          It’s like this wasn’t actually a Constitutional issue or something. Pitching a fit about the Constitution every time you don’t like what the President is doing doesn’t actually implicate the Constitution, just your own maturity.

    • Malaclypse

      The Framers created an institution designed not for speed or efficiency but as a place where mature wisdom would reside.

      I’m just goona repeat that:

      The Framers created an institution designed not for speed or efficiency but as a place where mature wisdom would reside.

      a place where mature wisdom would reside.

      Yea, Harry Reid sure fucked up that place where mature wisdom resides.

    • sibusisodan

      They intended the Senate to be the stabilizer, the fence, the check on attempts at tyranny

      Thinking about this some more, it’s not even wrong.

      The Senate is the counterweight to the House. It’s there to balance not tyranny, but transient passions and mob rule coming from the House.

      I dunno, Manju, it’s like your only vocab for expressing political grief and loss comes from the Collected Works of Sarah Palin.

      • Manju
        • Literally this has told us is that you can post things Robert Byrd thinks and we can’t actually tell it’s not you.

          I’m not sure how that advances your conspiracy theory…

          • Have to give a lot of credit to Manju here. He took a celebratory thread and made it delightfully weird. I think it’s performance art.

            • Manju
              • You linking to a Jim Carrey movie does not raise your esteem with me.

                • Malaclypse

                  To be fair, it doesn’t lower it either, at least not for me.

                • Unless it’s Leap, Dave Williams.

                • Manju

                  Well, Sally has gone missing…strangely enough.

                • Manju is yet again proving J.S. Mill right after almost 150 years:

                  I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.

            • ADHDJ

              I might find it “delightfully weird” if it wasn’t pretty clearly part of some sexual paraphilia on his part, one most likely involving sticking your genitalia in a Japanese pastry and then rubbing your sweet bean paste covered member all over the internet.

              The Pee-Wee Herman show: delightfully weird. Paul Rubens pleasuring himself in a movie theatre: not so much.

              • an excitable boy

                I prefer pot roast to sweet bean paste.

          • efgoldman

            Maybe Manju is a JFL sock puppet. Since JFL would never argue against today’s action, and JFL likes to argue above all else, QED….

        • That Chicken
    • Incitatus

      Is this the real OG Manju or a nymjacker?

  • fidelio

    JudicialNominations.org has a list of all the vacancies, notes the circuits where there are judicial emergencies, and lists the nominees, with whether they’ve had their committee report yet or not. They also note upcoming vacancies–I suppose those are “resignation tendered, to be effective xx/xx/xx”.

    There are, according to their list, 17 who are awaiting a vote, and 36 who have not yet been passed by the committee yet. Some are recent nominees, so the committee will not have had a chance to vote yet. However, there are 93 vacancies, and 17 future vacancies. Of the current vacancies, 38 represent judicial emergencies, and if you’re curious about how that is determined, USCourts.gov have anticipated your needs.

    • Warren Terra

      This gets at a point I’ve not seen discussed much: the Republicans retain the power to block action by all committees: each committee must meet, with a quorom of members, in order for nominees to be reported out of commitee to face a floor vote (or, before today, face a filibuster). The Republicans today did not allow the Judiciary committee to meet; they could threaten to refuse a quorum to all committees.

      I am glad that the Republicans’ unpatriotic drive to deny votes to all Obama nominees based not on their individual merits but entirely on their disregard for Obama has been overcome – but what’s to stop them from shutting down the Senate? You know Ted Cruz will want it, and Lindsey Graham will chirp up in his ever-more-falsetto voice to back the move.

      • Anonymous

        Cr*p.

        From here: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/committee-rules.cfm

        “Six Members of the Committee, actually present, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of discussing business. Eight Members of the Committee, including at least two Members of the minority, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. No bill, matter, or nomination shall be ordered reported from the Committee, however, unless a majority of the Committee is actually present at the time such action is taken and a majority of those present support the action taken.”

        I believe you are right, this will be the next procedural obstacle put up by the Republicans.

        • stepped pyramids

          And the Democrats can then say “the Republicans aren’t even coming in to work anymore”.

          The filibuster was effective because it had the sheen of historical legitimacy. It made people think of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. And it could always be described as demanding “more debate”, which is something that sounds civic and righteous.

          Look at how people reacted to the Wisconsin senate Democrats fleeing the state to prevent a quorum. It’s a much more dangerous, drastic move, and it prevents Senators from having a chance to bloviate in front of C-SPAN cameras, which is pretty much what they live for.

          • Warren Terra

            I think you’re underestimating the effectiveness of the Republicans’ messaging machine, and especially of the mainstream media’s willingness to kowtow to and to adopt Republican tropes and interpretations.

            The Republicans, if they do this systematically, will portray it as their brave rebellion to Reid’s cruel oppression and rule-breaking. This will be echoed on Limbaugh and on Fox – and also on NPR, NBC, etcetera. Joe Manchin will risk dehydration as he cries endless crocodile tears for the terrible injustice of the Nuclear Option, and may even join the walkouts.

  • IM

    This is not the first time a minority of senators has upset a Senate tradition or practice and the current Senate majority intends to do what the majority in the Senate has often done: use it’s constitutional authority under Article 1, section 5 to reform Senate procedure by a simple majority vote.

  • jkay

    Isn’t it the stupidest unliberal idea to think a majoritys always good? who knew the long majorities everywhere of slavery and ethnic cleansing and imperialism never happened? Who knew the oppressive majority Reagan Coalition never happpened? Who knew Socrates was never a maryr for democratic oppression?

    And, how does Reid being too stupid to filibuster Roberts’ nomination and other worsts’ in fear of what was already history in Clinton makj this remotely right? This means the next Shrub can bring oan bring Bork in safety, oh boy, oh, celebration. And you think we should pop the cork and celebrate that opportunity?
    And how you even know when you rote life Senators were the way?

    • Malaclypse

      Well, except as has been pointed out about a hundred times in this thread alone, Bork was not filibustered. The one and only Supreme Court appointee filibustered was Abe Fortas is 1968. There has never been a single conservative Justice filibustered, ever.

    • Thinking majorities are always good and thinking elections should have consequences are, it turns out, not related ideas.

    • IM

      This means the next Shrub can bring oan bring Bork in safety, oh boy, oh, celebration.

      Bork did get an up or down vote, you know.

      • Hogan

        you know

        I rather think not.

    • stepped pyramids

      The constitutional structure of the Senate is already fundamentally antimajoritarian, because 51 senators need not represent 51% of the people. The filibuster is not necessary for that purpose.

      The rights of minorities are protected by the Constitution and the separation of powers. The filibuster has never been a useful tool against the tyranny of the majority.

    • herr doktor bimler

      Allowing the majority to dictate spelling & grammar is TYRANNY.

  • Wow. I go interview someone for my book and the entire system of American governance changes.

    • Hogan

      You should do more interviews.

  • John Protevi

    Poor JenBob, someone dropped a bomb on him. A pancake bomb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17lkdqoLt44

  • Hogan

    That Robert Byrd was a bombastic rambling Senate rules fetishist is truly shocking.

    No, wait. The other thing. Widely known.

  • Light Rail Tycoon

    Following the use of the nuclear option, a bedraggled Mitch McConnell, clad only in rags, stumbles from the senate chambers, making it to the national statuary hall. As his strength fades, he falls to his knees before the statue of John C. Calhoun. Beating his fists to bloody stumps, he cries, ” You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”. Restored by an infusion of unlimited corporate cash, he stumbles off, leaving two rapidly drying reddish-brown stains on the polished, black and white marble floor.

    • Bartleby

      As he leans forward to survey the rubble, his glasses slide off his nose, shattering on the cement steps. He stares at the 2000+ pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, raises his head to the darkened skies and groans, “That’s not fair. That’s…that’s just not fair!”

  • This is fantastic! Now that the Democrats have established the the filibuster can be changed whenever the majority wants, once the GOP takes back the Senate (now or at some point in the future), they can just change the rules with a majority vote, and then repeal whatever Democratic legislation they want- starting with Obamacare. Thank you for removing the check of 60 votes that was established when our nation was first founded- now the party is really on!

    • Malaclypse

      So, “A Conservative Teacher” doesn’t understand that the Senate, acting alone, cannot repeal bills. I’d love to say I was surprised, but I’ve seen your blog.

      • Malaclypse

        Also, the 60-votes-since-our-nation-was-founded thing? Completely factually untrue. So were you stupid, or lying?

        • MAJeff

          What, each state didn’t have five Senators?

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          both, I should think. though parody doesn’t seem out of the question

      • MAJeff

        Thank you for removing the check of 60 votes that was established when our nation was first founded

        Must be the David Barton Constitution.

      • Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach civics.

    • Cheap Wino

      It makes me proud to be an American knowing our drivers ed teachers are making our streets safer by being so unapologetically conservative.

      Or did I get that wrong and you are a teacher at Beck University?

    • Rigby Reardon

      Thank you for removing the check of 60 votes that was established when our nation was first founded- now the party is really on!

      Hahahahahahahaha!

      • No, he’s right, you’ve always needed 60 votes to do anything in the Senate. It was a serious problem before 1850.

        • Malaclypse

          It occurs to me that A Conservative Teacher may think that the filibuster is what the 3/5ths clause was all about.

        • Rigby Reardon

          That took me a minute to figure out.

    • There’s this thing called the Constitution that prevents your fit of pique from happening. As a wingnut, I’m sure you’re unfamiliar with it.

  • Lortablet

    I hope Obama will use this to also start nominating better district court judges, where there are still far too many vacancies without even a nominee.

    So far, he district court picks have been about a 60/40 mix of actual liberals on one hand, and a larger number of random corporate lawyers, career prosecutors, and centrist state court judges.

    I don’t entirely blame him, as the mere threat of a filibuster limited his reach. I’ll call out randomly three of his better district court nominees, all in the bay area: Richard Seeborg, who is very intelligent and hard working and makes precedent with scholarly but forceful memorandum opinions, Jon Tiger, who had an actual long record as a progressive lawyer and was one of his bravest nominations, and Lucy Koh, who soon after taking the bench expertly presided over one of the most complex trials in history, the Samsung-Apple phone dispute.

    • Warren Terra

      Don’t forget, there’s still the issue of whether the nominees get a committee hearing.

      • efgoldman

        That’s a rule, not a law. It can be changed by vote, as can the ration of majority/minority members. For that matter (although I don’t think it will happen) they can do away with this, or any other committee if they want to.

    • joe from Lowell

      So far, he district court picks have been about a 60/40 mix of actual liberals on one hand, and a larger number of random corporate lawyers, career prosecutors, and centrist state court judges.

      Meh. These days, federal appeals court decisions about politically-charged issues come down to the Democratic position and the Republican position. In actual practice, there isn’t much of a difference at all between a left-wing appellate judge and a center-left appellate judge.

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