Democrats are outraged after last week’s successful filibuster of D.C. Circuit judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan. Last Tuesday, Harry Reid even hypocritically invoked the Senate’s narrow confirmation of Clarence Thomas to show that every nomination deserves an up-or-down vote. The Wall Street Journal today has more on this shameless invocation:
Ah, the beauty of selective memory, and we don’t mean only his omission of Anita Hill’s character assassination. The tradition of allowing an up-or-down vote vanished a decade later when Mr. Reid and Senate Democrats began to wield the filibuster against GOP judicial nominees between 2001 and 2008.
These included Miguel Estrada (seven times), Charles Pickering, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. According to the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Ed Whelan, Mr. Reid voted against cloture 25 times on 13 different judicial nominees, including Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
Democrats tried to filibuster Justice Alito in 2006 even after a much-ballyhooed deal by the so-called Senate Gang of 14 that was supposed to allow up-or-down votes except in “extraordinary circumstances.” A Senator from Illinois at the time, Barack Obama, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he joined the filibuster “because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values, you know.”