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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has ruled out using the so-called "nuclear option" to prevent Republicans from filibustering President Obama's judicial nominees.

"There is no way that I would employ or use the nuclear option," Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Friday, "I want every Republican to hear that."

In the spring of 2005, Reid's predecessor -- Republican Bill Frist of Tennessee (1995-2007) -- threatened to use a parliamentary maneuver to create a new precedent intended to eliminate Democrats' ability to filibuster President George W. Bush's conservative appellate-court nominees.

Reid, who was minority leader at the time, opposed Frist's effort.

At the eleventh hour, a bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of 14, struck a side deal that took the nuclear option off the table by allowing for the confirmation of several judicial nominees.

Reid said Friday that he holds the same view now that his party is in the Senate majority and controls the White House. He said he hoped Republicans would not filibuster Obama's judicial nominees, but he added that it was their prerogative to do so.

And the Reidster continues:

"The nuclear option was only one of the things that Republicans in power at that time did or tried to do to ruin our country," Reid said. "The nuclear option was the most important issue I'd ever worked on in my entire career because if that had gone forward, it would have destroyed the Senate as we know it."

Who aside from Senate leadership thinks getting rid of the filibuster is ruining the country?  Who gives a crap about destroying the Senate as we know it?  The Senate as we know it is a rump institution that's been bowing to the worst of presidential powergrabs, populated by old farts, overly weighted to rural populations and defacto controlled by a southern regional party.  Defacto because unlike Reid, the republicans are perfectly happy to blow up his precious rules.

In my opinion, this is a perfectly good time to RE-EVALUATE the filibuster, since we have republican permission to do so.  Do we want one?  Did we ever?  

Originally posted to Inland on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:30 AM PDT.

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