Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal decried Senate Democrats' obstruction of judicial nominees as "unprecedented in its stinginess," and noted that "[w]e'll soon see if Republicans will take this lying down." The answer came the next day, when GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell forced Senate clerks to read aloud the entire 491-page substitute amendment to the climate change bill. Kudos to Sen. McConnell, who explained that the tactic was intended "to give [Democrats] time to contemplate and consider the importance of keeping your word in this body."
McConnell was referring to Majority Leader Harry Reid's broken promise to confirm three appeals court nominees before the Memorial Day recess, as well as Reid's sure-to-be-broken earlier promises to meet the historical average (17) for appeals court confirmations by an opposition Senate in a president's final two years. In fact, McConnell noted, judicial confirmations are proceeding at a historically slow pace:
"If you look at judicial confirmations in a presidential year, you have to go back to 1848, . Zachary Taylor, to find the last time the pace has been this slow."
Of course, what Senate Democrats have mind is 2009 rather than 1848, as Sen. John Cornyn explained last week:
"It is becoming increasingly clear that the majority party is . attempting to run out the clock in hopes of a Democratic President appointing hard left, judicial activists in 2009. We will not let this happen."
But Democrats should not count their judicial activists before they're confirmed. As noted by the Washington Times, Sen. McConnell "issued the starkest threat to date that Republicans will retaliate next year if a Democrat wins the White House." Specifically, McConnell said
"It strikes me it's to their advantage to defuse this issue, because around here, what goes around comes around. That's happening today. It could happen next year. Surely, they're not so shortsighted as to think, 'Goodness, just a few months from now we could be processing nominees that we like.'"
Of greatest concern is confirming one or more of the Big Three nominees: Bob Conrad (4th Cir.), Steve Matthews (4th Cir.), and Peter Keisler (DC Cir.). The key will be whether GOP senators remain resolute, and so far the signs are good. When Wednesday's slowdown produced only a little movement on Reid's part - specifically, an agreement to hold confirmation votes for three district court nominees - Sen. McConnell continued to press Democrats by refusing to give consent for Senate committees to meet while the Senate was in session Thursday. McConnell promised to keep up the fight until Democrats back down from their obstruction of judicial nominees....
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH