Tuesday, June 14, 2005

''Extraordinarily rancid justice''

"As the Senate votes on Bush's long-filibustered nominees, the nuclear option compromise is looking more rancid than reasonable. The seven Democrats who helped broker the compromise pledged not to filibuster except in the most extraordinary circumstances. But given the track record of Priscilla Owens, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor, I wonder how extreme a candidate has to be before these Democrats and their seven Republican colleagues would reject them. Would a prospective nominee have to be caught wearing white Klan robes to Sunday church? Having public sex with a live animal? Receiving videotaped bribes from Don Corleone? I suppose these actions might meet the "extraordinary circumstances" standard, but running roughshod over legal precedents to favor the wealthy and powerful clearly doesn't.

Because the participating Democrats agreed not to filibuster Owens, Brown, and Pryor, the public barely heard the stories of why their nominations crossed an unacceptable line. We heard mostly the inside baseball of legal abstractions. In return for establishing these judges as a new acceptable standard, the seven compromising Democrats kept the theoretical right to filibuster. But it's guaranteed only if they don't exercise it. They saved an abstract principle at the price of agreeing to cave in practically every imaginable circumstance."-from the post by Seattle writer Paul Loeb, on Working for Change. Paul showed up at Dean's fundraiser for the DNC in Seattle last week.

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