Bench Memos

Broder on Up-or-Down Vote

In an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, David Broder repeats the canard that the withdrawal of Miers’s nomination somehow has some bearing on the proposition that the Senate should give every judicial nominee an up-or-down vote. Here’s Broder’s key assertion:

“Certainly there can be no greater sin in a sizable bloc of sitting senators using long-standing Senate rules to stymie a nomination than a cabal of outsiders — a lynching squad of right-wing journalists, self-sanctified religious and moral organizations, and other frustrated power-brokers — rolling over the president they all ostensibly support.”

I’ll leave irrelevant judgments of comparative “sin” to Broder, though I hadn’t previously realized that Broder regarded it as sinful for Republicans to disagree in any respect with the President. Broder appears to be frustrated that he and his fellow members of the liberal mainstream media are no longer the power-brokers they wish they were.

On the merits of the issue, I’ll just restate what I and others have already amply explained: The proposition that every judicial nominee is entitled to an up-or-down vote in the Senate is a prescription how the Senate should act as a body. In particular, it is a response to the massive and unprecedented series of filibusters—the abuse of longstanding rules—that Senate Democrats have employed against President Bush’s judicial nominees.

This proposition obviously does not mean that every judicial nominee is obligated to maintain his candidacy until the point that he receives an up-or-down vote or that the President somehow can’t withdraw a nomination before then. Nor, of course, does it mean that American citizens—even those Broder self-sanctifiedly and frustratedly labels “self-sanctified” and “frustrated”—shouldn’t exercise their First Amendment rights to call for withdrawal.

Again, is that really so difficult to understand?


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