Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Filibusters & Judicial Quality


Here is an op-ed by Steffen Johnson, a lawyer with the Office of Legal Counsel, called “How Filibusters Drain Quality.” Johnson writes:

As the moment of truth approaches for Senate Republicans deciding whether to go “nuclear” to end Democratic filibusters of federal judicial nominees, the debaters continue to overlook the most important reason filibusters should be laid to rest: They are a substantial threat to a genuinely distinguished and intellectually diverse judiciary.

Beyond the issue of who controls the presidency or the Senate, filibustering judges is plainly a bad idea. It enables the minority party to blackball any nominee with any record of distinction, since any nominee worth his or her salt will have offended one or another interest group in the course of prior government or academic service. This means the courts will be filled with undistinguished, inoffensive “moderates” rather than a diverse group of the most talented judges from both parties.

Read the whole thing.


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