Sunday :: Jan 15, 2006

Feinstein Rules Out A Filibuster Of Alito

by Steve

Dianne Feinstein said today that even though she is concerned about the direction that Samuel Alito would take the court on the issues of Roe v. Wade and his support for executive power at the expense of checks and balances, she cannot support a filibuster of Alito. She plans to oppose Alito when the vote comes, but cannot say that he is unqualified for the court.

You all know that I have struggled with this question all year long: when to filibuster and when not to. By Feinstein's standard, as long as you look and sound qualified, and as long as you can manage to avoid answering questions directly that would identify you as being out of the mainstream, you cannot and should not be filibustered.

A plausible argument can be made that this is why we have elections: if voters put Bush back in office, albeit by a slim if not questionable margin, then he gets to nominate conservatives and should expect, even with a 40% approval rating, that those conservatives are to be confirmed as long as they are shown to be qualified, without fear of a filibuster.

The polls tend to support this, as several of them have indicated they expect Democrats to oppose Alito if they find him objectionable on the issues, but not necessarily to filibuster him. But is the correct role here for Democrats to line up as many votes against him as possible and go on record opposing him, and call it a day? Is it enough heading into the 2006 elections for the Democrats to hold the White House and the GOP accountable when Alito starts doing what we on the center-left fully expect him to do, in what amounts to nothing more than a "I told you so"?

Steve :: 1:46 PM :: Comments (38) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!