Friday, January 27, 2006


I invite those of you opposed to judicial activism and the imperial presidency to join me in urging our fine senators from the Great State of Illinois to support the filibuster (should the opportunity arise) and vote no on cloture.

Senator Richard Durbin
Washington: 202-224-2152
Chicago: 312-353-4952

Senator Barack Obama
Washington: 202-224-2854
Chicago: 312-886-3506

If you've stumbled upon this from another Great State, go here to find your senators' contact info.

UPDATE: When I called Durbin's office to urge the senator to vote against cloture should the Alito confirmation come to a filibuster, the young poli-sci major who took my call said: "Wait, so you want the filibuster or you don't want it?"


Blogger mkchicago said...

"This situation calls for a senseless and futile gesture on somebody's part"
Eric "Otter" Stratton

12:42 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

Maybe that intern thought you meant "closure," or "couture." Or "Cloning." Or "Mayonnaise."

mk: As usual, your response (via Otter) gives us nothing but vague insight as to your feelings/position on this matter. Are you contending that communicating one's views to one's elected representatives is a "senseless and futile gesture"? If so, does that apply generally to all elected representatives in all secular democracies, or only to the case of Judge Alito's Philly Buster?

I think it's vital and important to make my feelings known to my elected Senators/Reps/Aldermen about pending legislation. It certainly isn't senseless: writing a letter urging a vote against a flag-burning amendment helps clear my thoughts and position on the issue. And futile? Hardly: invariably my representatives write me back, and by so doing more clearly work out their thoughts and position on the issue.

It's a fundamental reponsibility of a citizen of a democratic state. Not: senseless and futile.

Otter's quote might have been funny in the context of whatever movie he said it in, but I would like to think a proud, well-educated American like yourself would scoff at such misbegotten cynicism.

2:32 PM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

I'm afraid my comments and are going to be briefer and my grammer/spelling worse from now on. My employer has seen fit to put us on a server which limits our WWW time. D'OH!

It's futile b/c Alito will get confirmed. BTW, I thought the dems made a deal not to do this in any event. Am i confusing this with a different deal?

"whatever movie he said it in"
Please tell me you know a good Animal House quote when you see it.

(Actual quote is more like:
"I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.")

3:04 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

""My employer has seen fit to put us on a server which limits our WWW time""

No doubt another of Frank Kruesi's cost-saving measures. Maybe the Venezuelan government can get you some free internet terminals.

4:23 PM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

I have to say that people have every right to tell their elected representatives what their views are.

That being said I think a filibuster of Alito would be a terrible precedent. The republicans confimed Ruth Bader Ginsburg with 96 or 97 votes when the Republicans had a majority in the senate. She was qualified and was confirmed. I don't think any reasonable person would say Alito is unqualified.

I think the democrats need to come to grips with the fact that elections have consequences. If you don't like the nominees of the republican senate and the republican president, get more votes. Don't act like a bunch of spoiled brats. It's not 1967.

I have to say as a person who tends to vote republican, I hope the democrats try and filibuster when it doesn't look like they have enough votes to prevent cloture. Or better yet, the "nuclear option" is invoked and we can stop having this silly argument.

Widespread filibustering of judicial nominees is a new tactic in the last 5 years or so lead by Ted Kennedy, so I have no problem with nuking the senate to stop this abuse.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"It's futile b/c Alito will get confirmed."

As someone who voted for Alan Keyes, I assume you don't mean "futile" to be taken at all pejoratively.

"BTW, I thought the dems made a deal not to do this in any event. Am i confusing this with a different deal?"

The G-14 agreed to only support a filibuster under "extraordinary circumstances," whatever the hell that meant.

11:30 AM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

I never said anything about futile and I did not vote for Alan Keyes. I think filibustering would be a horrible precedent to set in the senate.

There is no reason to try and stop Alito other than to prove the democrats are a minority party in this country.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hurtleg, the quotation marks referred to comments by MK, right above yours.

As for your "terrible precedent," are you joking? Frist himself voted to filibuster a Clinton appointee to the 9th circuit, and a dozen other Clinton nominees (all having received the ABA's "well-qualified" rating) to circuit courts were never given an "up or down hearing," that rallying cry of the right, because cry-baby Republican senators who couldn't "come to grips with the fact that [presidential] elections have consequences," wouldn't allow them out of committee. Here's a brief history of the source of the current acrimony:

"Prior to 1996, when the Senate majority and the president were from opposing parties, senators usually deferred to the president with respect to lower-court judicial nominations. With the notable exceptions of the 1968 Fortas nomination and a failed Republican filibuster of H. Lee Sarokin in 1994, neither party filibustered the other's judicial nominations, and virtually all nominees received a hearing unless they were sent up after the presidential nominating conventions.

All this changed in 1996. Rather than openly challenge President Clinton's nominees on the floor, Republicans decided to deny them Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Between 1996 and 2000, 20 of Bill Clinton's appeals-court nominees were denied hearings, including Elena Kagan, now dean of the Harvard Law School, and many other women and minorities. In 1999, Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch refused to hold hearings for almost six months on any of 16 circuit-court and 31 district-court nominations Clinton had sent up. Three appeals-court nominees who did manage to obtain a hearing in Clinton's second term were denied a committee vote, including Allen R. Snyder, a distinguished Washington lawyer, Clinton White House aide, and former Rehnquist law clerk, who drew lavish praise at his hearing -- but never got a committee vote. Some 45 district-court nominees were also denied hearings, and two more were afforded hearings but not a committee vote."

So, we can thank the Republican Radicals for the advent of the no-holds-barred strategy of using procedural tricks to block judicial nominees. I think it sucks too, but unilateral disarmament is for suckers, so as a Democratic activist I'm going to encourage Democratic legislators to be as dirty and low down as Republicans, even though they're clearly nowhere near as good at it.

I would also like to see the nuclear option invoked by Republicans, if only to sneer at the whimpering of those same Republicans when Democrats someday retake the Senate.

12:10 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

I voted for Alan Keyes AND I bought a mug from his campaign, knowing such was politically futile.

It is a great mug, however. My favorite, next to my Christkindlmarket boot.

10:40 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

I loved that “brief history”! Here’s a brief history of WW2:
Prior to the early 1940’s American-Japanese relations were tense, but each country respected the territorial integrity of the other. All this changed in April 1942 when the US attacked the Japanese mainland without warning in the so-called Doolittle Raid. So we can thank American radicals for ratcheting up the violence.

In case I’m being too subtle:
How the hell do you write a recent history of the modern Supreme Court nomination process without invoking the name Robert Bork? It’s akin to discussing US involvement in WW2 without making reference to Pearl Harbor.

Here’s a slightly extended history .

“I'm going to encourage Democratic legislators to be as dirty and low down as Republicans”

Democratic don’t need any help on being dirty and low down:
"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit in segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids . . ."

- Teddy K.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"How the hell do you write a recent history of the modern Supreme Court nomination process without invoking the name Robert Bork?"

I'm not sure what you reading MK, because the link I posted never even mentions the Supreme Court. It was about Republicans' use of procedural maneuvers to block judicial nominees from getting a full hearing, which is what Hurtleg was castigating Democrats for even considering.

As for Bork, I'm not sure what the fact that Reagan nominated a craptacularly unpalatable candidate who was defeated in a full senate vote, has to do with the Republican innovation of mass blockings of court nominees through procedural measures.

But, as long as we're talking about him:

Sen. John Warner (R-VA): "I searched the record. I looked at this distinguished jurist, and I cannot find in him the record of compassion, of sensitivity and understanding of the pleas of the people to enable him to sit on the highest Court of the land."

Arlen Specter (R-PA): "I've learned to study hard, to be prepared and to make up my mind about what questions ought to be asked. I've been criticized a lot for questioning Judge Bork on one session for an hour and a half, and he had views which were different from anybody who had ever been nominated before. He had original intent, and if his original intent stood, we'd still be segregating the United States Senate with African-Americans on one side and Caucasians on the other side. And I read what Senator Bork [sic] has written about me, and he came into Pennsylvania last spring to campaign for my primary opponent, but I think a fair analysis, and a number of scholars have read my questioning of Senator Bork and thought it was right."

Washington Post, October 24, 1987: "White House officials emphatically disagree with this assessment, insisting that from Reagan on down the administration made a maximum effort. They acknowledge a serious miscalculation at the outset, when they overestimated the likely importance of Bork's role in the firing of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox and underestimated the importance of Bork's controversial writings as a law professor.

Most important, Bork, who met personally with almost half the members of the Senate, did not persuade the key undecided votes, White House officials said. "The dogs just didn't like the food," said one Bork strategist."

11:30 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

25 Democrats with balls.

Is Bingaman up for reelection?

8:48 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"25 Democrats with balls."

Every time something like this happens, I understand why the red staters don't trust pussy Democrats with their security.

9:58 AM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

My take is there are still 19 democrats that are in touch with reality.

11:36 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

As you are aware, I wouldn't trust the Democrats to sit the right way on a toilet seat, let alone protect us.

I'm not the religious demographic of a south park rep., but however otherwise useless the book, I keep going back to "I don't really care for the Republicans, but I damn hate the Democrats." I think this leads to the political miscalculation of the Democrats whenever they reach climax over Bush's low approval numbers.

12:59 PM  

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