Not so very long ago, a number of Senate Republicans declared that, if a judicial nominee were filibustered in the Senate, we’d have a major constitutional crisis on our hands. Several of them declared publicly that they themselves would never undertake such shockingly scurrilous behavior.
Here, for example, is Lamar Alexander of Tennessee:
“I pledged, then and there, I would never filibuster any President’s judicial nominee, period. I might vote against them, but I will always see they came to a vote.” (Congressional Chronicle, June 9, 2005) …
“I have pledged and I still pledge to give up my right to filibuster any president’s nominee for the appellate courts.” [Remarks of Senator Alexander, 5/20/05]
Sen. Alexander today voted to filibuster the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. So, that’s what his “pledge” is worth.
Or here’s Tom Coburn of Oklahoma:
If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent. That means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee. (CNBC’s Kudlow & Company, Apr. 26, 2005)
Coburn also voted to filibuster Liu today. So, that tells you what Coburn thinks of the Constitution.
Here, too, are Senators Chambliss and Isakson of Georgia:
Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution requires it. [The Atlanta Journal Constitution via Isakson.Senate.gov, “Filibusters obstruct the Senate’s duty,” 5/24/09]
Of course, Chambliss and Isakson voted to filibuster today. So much for the Constitution, and for the Senate’s “responsibility.”
I could go on and on. It’s remarkable how strong GOP Republicans’ statements were then, and how directly contrary to those statements today’s vote was. Even in a business where hypocrisy isn’t uncommon, what happened today is unusually grotesque.