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View Diary: Surrender Dems (442 comments)

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  •  That'd be something. (none)
    But where's the leverage to keep the nominee from the floor?

    If you're gonna use the nuclear option to rewrite the rules in mid-game, and you were recently contemplating removing Specter from the chairmanship anyway, why not simply discharge the nomination?

    •  Gang of 14 (none)
      Even though Specter is not a member of the Gang of 14, I would guess that he is well-respected among them.  If the Republicans bypass him and discharge the nomination, he could threaten to join the Dems in a filibuster and to vote with the Dems against the nuclear option if it is attempted (and to bring some of the gang of 14 with him). That would be a huge embarrassment for the Republicans--to attempt the nuclear option and fail.  But anyway, that's probably not what's going on, but is definitely something I'd like to see--if anything, just so I could feel better about Leahy voting yes on Roberts.
      •  That's got to be his thought... (none)
        insofar as he's thinking of it at all.

        But DeWine and Graham can hardly wait to bail out, and in the situation you describe, McCain flips, and possibly Warner, too, depending on the nominee.

        •  That's true, (none)
          but Specter could get Chafee, Collins, and Snowe on his side, plus maybe Murkowski and Smith, who are both pro-choice.  That would be the only way this would work.  
        •  In that hypothetical... (none)
          don't the pro-nuclear Republicans look like even bigger hypocrites than they otherwise would?

          The Republicans bottled up a lot of Clinton's judicial nominees (although not to the Supreme Court) in committee.  If they try to argue not just that filibusters of judicial nominees who have reached the floor are unconstitutional, but that refusing to let a nominee out of committee is unconstitutional, they're going to essentially be accusing themselves of having violated the Constitution many times.  And while looking like hypocrites won't necessarily stop them from attempting the nuclear option, it should increase the political damage if they succeed.

          Also, are you sure McCain and Warner flip in such a hypothetical?  Neither strikes me as someone who would want to give the majority more power to neuter maverick committee chairs.  Once this precedent of a nonfilibusterable discharge motion is established, who's to say it will remain limited to judicial nominations?  

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