There’s a reason – among many – why I like reading Booman Tribune’s articles; case in point: his criticism of a recent Daily Beast article in which the writer over there (Jedediah Purdy) criticizes the supposed ‘anti-democratic’ nature of the Supreme Court. As I read the article, I’m of two minds: on the one hand, the court – and the broader federal judiciary – suffers at times from not-so-much an anti-democratic bias but an ‘non-open’ bias; that is, the Courts aren’t as open as we might – in broader society – want them to be.
On the other hand, that’s one of the reasons why the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government is still the most popular branch of American government and one reason is precisely that reason; because the Courts have managed to stay above the partisan fray (never mind the fact that all federal judges are appointed by one branch and confirmed by another), the public has been willing for years to give the judiciary a pass while the other branches don’t get a similar pass. There’s also the essential – if pained – truth of American law that while Congress may write the laws we live under in this great republic and the President (and by extension, the Executive branch) has the power of enforcement, it is the judiciary that gets the final say on what those laws are, how they’re enforced, etc. It is a solemn, if misunderstood, power, and while we may fret and bitch and moan about what the Courts have done over the years, it is a price we Americans, thankfully, are willing to pay for responsible governance.
Remember that fight a few months back over filibuster reform in the Senate, reform that took place as a result of the filibusters of three D.C. Circuit nominees? Well, the third of those nominees was confirmed earlier today, thus ending that particular saga…
The Senate confirmed one of President Barack Obama’s key judicial nominees on Monday, completing an overhaul of the country’s second most powerful court into one dominated by Democratic-appointed judges.
The Senate voted 55-43 to confirm Robert Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That gives Democratic appointees a 7-4 majority on the politically influential bench. The D.C. Circuit, second in clout only to the Supreme Court, hears appeals of White House actions and federal rules and regulations.
Wilkins’ confirmation is a fresh demonstration of Senate Democrats’ ability to push through most presidential nominations by a simple majority, thanks to a weakening of filibusters that they muscled through the chamber in November.(AP-Yahoo News)
For what its’ worth, I still think the Senate didn’t go far enough on filibuster reform but this is a start.
A few months ago, the Senate, in the first of three confirmation votes, failed to confirm Patricia Millett for a seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to block President Obama’s judicial appointments…fast forward to earlier today, where, a few weeks after the Senate’s historic vote to change the rules concerning the filibuster, voted 56-38 to confirm Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit.
Now that a modicum of sanity has been restored, hopefully the backlog of nominees for various judicial and executive positions can be dealt with…
I understand the historical and pragmatic reasons for not invoking the constitutional (or “nuclear”) option in the Senate, but surely there has to come a time where Harry Reid has to get up and say to the Republicans, “Enough!”
Senate Republicans voted to hold up a key federal appeals court nominee Thursday, daring Senate Democrats to invoke what is known as the nuclear option and change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote. Patricia Millett, a corporate lawyer who is among the most prominent and widely respected members of the Supreme Court bar, would have filled one of three seats on the second most powerful American court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.(Think Progress)
Republicans have shown, time and time again, that they do not care whether anything gets done in the Senate on executive and judicial appointments; it is past time for Senator Reid to invoke the nuclear option and get things rolling again in the world’s most deliberative body.