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July 05, 2005

Brilliant, Just Brilliant

We'll wait and see how it plays out, but this WaPo article is encouraging.

"Based on what we've done in the past with Brown, Pryor and Owen," Graham said, "ideological attacks are not an 'extraordinary circumstance.' To me, it would have to be a character problem, an ethics problem, some allegation about the qualifications of the person, not an ideological bent."

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), a leader of the seven Democratic signers, largely concurred. Nelson "would agree that ideology is not an 'extraordinary circumstance' unless you get to the extreme of either side," his spokesman, David DiMartino, said in an interview.

Not to boast, but those words sound strikingly like something that I wrote a while back when I called the Gang of 14 deal a brilliant political move.
The Democrats, on the other hand, spent the last few years and a tremendous amount of political capital branding fine conservative jurists Priscilla R. Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William H. Pryor Jr. as right-wing extremists. Borrowing from the language of the deal, they are by the Democrats’ own definition, the most “extraordinary” of Bush’s nominees...The bar has been set and it has been set very high. Any future Bush nominee, whether Circuit or Supreme, will have to be clearly more “extreme” than Owen, Brown, and Pryor.

I argued then, and continue to argue that we will never know whether Frist actually had the votes to go Constitutional on the obstructionist Dems. I raised this point on the air with Hugh Hewitt and he pretty much blew me off. The next day, Erwin Chemerinsky raised the exact same point and Hugh didn't challenge him on it.

At the very least, Frist was not certain that he had the votes. The deal allowed confirmation of the three most "radical", "extreme", and "right-wing" nominees.

The non-signing Democrats didn't attempt to filibuster Owen, Pryor, and Brown. If these Democrats believed these jurists were not fit for the bench, they should have bucked the agreement signed by their partisan colleagues and filibustered the nominees as representatives of their respective states and constituents. But, alas, they did not - indicating that these judges were not extreme enough in their mind for them to break with their party and take a stand on principle. To filibuster a SCOTUS nominee on ideological grounds will leave them exposed.

McCain may try to play the middle, but in doing so he will have to stand against Graham and the Republican base. Graham has issued a cue. Frist and other Senate Republicans need to run with it IMMEDIATELY.

Posted by Rick at July 5, 2005 10:19 PM

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