The Corner

Don’t Turn a Victory Into a Defeat

In the real world of real politics, there are — there must be — compromises. It is a necessary part of politics that there be those who believe all compromise is evil, because such people give backbone to the compromisers — and scare the tar out of them. The compromise deal averting the filibuster showdown is a victory for the majority and for the Republicans. It is not a wipeout. It is not a rout. And for the two judge candidates who may have been sacrificed, it really really stinks. But what happened last night is very important. It breaks the Democratic logjam on circuit-court nominees. It establishes the principle that conservative judges have every right to serve on the higher benches even if Democrats can’t stand it. And it means that if Republicans have to break the filibuster to ensure an up-or-down vote on a Supreme Court justice, they will have a very strong argument indeed. The argument will be that they are breaking the filibuster out of respect for the tradition that says the choices for the highest court must be advised and consented to by the full Senate. And all this was done without a major conflagration, which is (despite our hunger for major political melodrama) always preferable.

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