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Re: The Filbuster Debate


Ramesh, I agree that there has been a political price paid, at least in Tom Daschle’s case. I’m not sure how much obstruction of judicial candidates played a role in other political races — whether Senate or Presidential — this last term. Losing Daschle, though, hopefully sent a strong signal to Senate Democrats. However, they have proved adept at ignoring pretty obvious warning signs before, and Harry Reid doesn’t seem to have gotten the message. I think a Supreme Court filibuster might be more costly for them politically. But perhaps this is our point of departure — I think the prize is too important at that stage. A “political win” in the Senate is not nearly as important as getting the right Supreme Court nominee confirmed. If we add a Republican Senator or two in a couple of years, we have not come close to undoing the damage wrought by a single filibuster of a good Supreme Court candidate. Think of the tradeoff of a Justice Bork with a Justice Kennedy. Imagine the difference over the last 15 years if we had won that battle. Against that objective, greater control over the Senate — where common sense often goes to die or at least spend a very expensive vacation on taxpayer dollars — is a shallow goal.


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