Monday, May 23, 2005

Let's Make a Deal

We may not know for a while what the real effects of today's deal on the filibuster are. The down side is that some of the far right wing judges may go through, and there is no way to be certain that Frist won't still go through with the nuclear option should Democrats try to filibuster an extreme choice for the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately the only thing that would have made us happy--stopping these judges without Frist having the votes to end filibusters--might have been impossible. We had two bad choices. Either this deal or and end to the filibuster, and the far right wing judges still would have gone through

The real questions remain whether the threat of the filibuster remaining will have any impact in keeping out the most extreme judges, and whether this will have an impact politically which is harmful to the Republicans. A comment from First Read today provides hope that this might turn out to be harmful to the Republicans:

Social conservative leaders are warning that "a failure to end judicial filibusters would leave rank-and-file activists dispirited after having worked to re-elect President Bush and expand Republican majorities in the House and Senate last year," Roll Call reports. "In fact, they suggest a loss in the judicial battle might be enough to drive these activists away from the polls in 2006 and perhaps in 2008, denying Republicans a loyal political base seen as vital to GOP victories.

I'm not all that optimistic about this if they get conservative judges through, but the more this can come off as being called a Democratic victory, the more likely some on the religious right will question the value of their recent political action. Reid is smart to declare a victory now that the deal has been made. At very least this makes Frist look weaker, which is not a bad thing.

Hopefully the Democrats can also use this as an argument that a Democratic-controlled Senate is the only way to keep the far right judges off the Supreme Court. In the past I don't think people really thought Rowe v. Wade was in danger. It now may be possible to get them to think along these lines.


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