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Opening Arguments

The old soldier

I've written before that Sen. Richard Lugar's votes in favor of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan are among the most important evidence that the senator has not really been a good soldier in the war of ideas. He continued to play by the old-school gentlemen's rules dictating that the president's picks are given deference. But the rules of the game have become tougher and much nastier. There is no indication the other side is going to go back to the old rules, so Lugar's insistence on honoring them amounts to unilateral disarmament.

Here is someone who agrees with me:

Even in the aftermath of the Bork and Thomas hearings, Republican senators continued to invoke the principle of deference to the president, as they voted overwhelmingly in favor of President Clinton’s nominations of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (confirmed 96-3) and Stephen Breyer (87-9*) in 1993 and 1994. But conservatives came to recognize that a unilateral, unreciprocated embrace of that deference model amounted to abject surrender in the battle over the courts, and most Republican senators saw fit to change course. But not, alas for him, Senator Lugar.

But here's someone who takes a different view:

The social norm against blocking qualified, mainstream Supreme Court nominees is one of the few remaining weapons the Republican Party has left lying on the ground. But if Republican senators attribute Lugar’s defeat even in part to those votes for Kagan and Sotomayor, which seems to be the case, what incentive do they have to vote for another Obama nominee? And then what will happen if he gets another vacancy to fill – will Republican senators allow him to seat any recognizably Democratic jurist? Especially as the Supreme Court interjects itself more forcefully into partisan disputes like health care, will it become commonplace for the Court to have several vacancies owing to gridlock, for the whole legitimacy of the institution to collapse?

I probably don't need to say that the first post quoted was from a conservative and that the second one was from a liberal, a gentle soul who never mentions once that both sides have been waging ideological war over court nominations. Gosh darn it, that rotten old partisan divide that's destroying us would go away if the conservatives would just shut up and let us do all the things we want to, which really are quite reasonable and not at all partisan, as every right-thinking American udnerstands.


Thu, 05/10/2012 - 3:50pm

Only the most extreme conservatives, such as Bork, have been blocked by Democrats. Thomas, despite your reference to him, still sits in the Supreme Court despite his wife's political activism. You seem to be suggesting that it is every senator's duty to block anyone nominated by a president of the other party. If Democrats had done that, we wouldn't have Roberts or Alito and you would be calling them extremists for it.

Mourdock won by essentially promising to oppose anything Obama favors, including, one presumes, motherhood and apple pie. How will anything be accomplished in such an environment? And please don't give me the old "that's the point" answer. Even conservatives want some things done, such as the abolition of every program that keeps poor people from dying of hunger or preventable disease.

If Romney is elected, I think he will encounter a backlash from Dems doing to him what Republicans are doing to Obama. This can't be healthy.

tim zank
Thu, 05/10/2012 - 6:24pm

Oh it's healthy Littlejohn, very healthy, we're winning and it will be sooo delicious to watch a Republican with a Republican Prez do exactly as Reid & Pelosi &Obama did and jam so much sh*t down your throats you'll want to commit suicide.

What you and most lefties don't seem to grasp though is that eventually in the end you lose either way. If we can't stop you now so be it, everything will just collapse under the weight of the recipient population and those of us with brains, initiative and the will to prosper will start over while the rest of you starve anyway, just take a little longer to rid the landscape of the moochers is all. 

Christopher Swing
Thu, 05/10/2012 - 10:38pm

Wow, Zank. That's a healthy, sane attitude you've got there.

I don't know why anyone would think they couldn't reason with you.