Bench Memos

Up-or-Down Vote

Jonathan has already amply explained (in the paragraph labeled “Second” here) why Miers’s withdrawal has no bearing on the proposition that the Senate should accord every judicial nominee an up-or-down vote. But from discussions with the media, I gather that there is still some confusion on this elementary point. So let me briefly supplement Jonathan’s discussion.

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 that Senate Democrats 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 does it mean that it’s somehow improper for individual senators to advise the White House that a nomination should be withdrawn. Nor, of course, does it mean that American citizens shouldn’t exercise their First Amendment rights to call for withdrawal.

Is there really anything complicated about this point?

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