This excellent column – by conservative scholar Norman Ornstein – thoroughly debunks the Senate Republicans’ ridiculous claim that it’s unconstitutional to filibuster judicial nominees, and that doing so has no historical precedent. (Hat tip: How Appealing.) Ornstein’s concluding sentences regarding Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the current head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and promoter-in-chief for the anti-filibuster position: On this one, he is wrong on the facts, wrong on the history, and wrong on the strategy. I hope he and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) think longer and harder before they take the plunge down this slippery slope. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And mind you, Ornstein delivers this pronouncement after opining that Hatch would make a good Chief Justice – this guy is no friend of the Democrats. When even the American Enterprise Institute won’t back up the Republican leadership, you know they’ve strayed way, way off the reservation. UPDATE: Noted douchebag of liberty Robert Novak opines here that the judicial filibuster is, indeed, unprecedented, and generally seems to support the so-called "nuclear option" of having Cheney declare judicial filibusters unconstitutional. However, he fails to address any of the detailed analysis set forth in Ornstein’s column.
Predictably, Bernard Kerik’s abrupt withdrawal as Bush’s nominee for Director of Homeland Security, ostensibly for nanny-type problems (but see the New York Daily News in particular for Kerik’s other "difficulties"), has led our friends in the mainstream media to recall that some Clinton nominees had to withdraw for similar reasons. Amazingly, though, some of the reporting is completely wrong. I refer in particular to several stories (and there are dozens more out there – Google it yourself) stating that Lani Guinier withdrew as Clinton’s nominee for head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division because she had failed to pay taxes for a domestic worker. As anyone with even a few brain cells left should recall, however, Lani Guinier withdrew because some of her writings were wildly misrepresented, she was smeared as a "quota queen," and Clinton backed down in the face of right-wing pressure. (It was not Bubba’s finest moment.) Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t remember anything about Guinier having "domestic worker" problems. If you can find a source from the relevant time period (1993) referring to any such problems, I’d like to know about it. This is really scary. The Guinier business was extremely well-publicized at the [...]