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On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced an agreement for the Senate to vote on 10 judicial nominees in the next few weeks. These 10 are among the 27 nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee, but have fallen victim to Republican obstruction.

Consider, for example, Marina Garcia Marmolejo, the president's nominee to the Southern District of Texas. She was nominated on July 28, 2010. The seat she's been nominated for has been deemed a "judicial emergency" by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Despite having the strong support of both John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, and easy approval in Judiciary, when she finally gets a vote in the Senate, Marmolejo will have been waiting 433 days; almost 62 weeks.

Mamolejo's case is sadly typical. Take a look at this map of federal judiciary emergencies around the country, where there are either district or circuit courts (or both) facing emergencies because of vacancies.

judicial emergency map

That's from a report by the Center for American Progress. What all this means?

More than 200 million Americans—fully two-thirds of the nation’s population—today are living in a jurisdiction that has been declared a judicial emergency* meaning that in courtrooms across the country there aren’t enough judges to hear the cases that are piling up. The map . . . depicts the areas of the country where there are federal district courts and circuit courts of appeal with judicial emergencies. In practical terms, it shows where judges are overworked and where justice is being significantly delayed for the American public. The nation’s federal courts—where Social Security appeals are heard, employment cases decided, immigration issues settled, and where Americans vindicate their constitutional rights—are in a crisis because there simply aren’t enough judges on the bench.

In south Texas, where Marmolejo will finally be seated in the next few weeks, "a federal trial judge’s criminal caseload can be nearly six times the normal caseload. As Texas federal Judge W. Royal Furgeson explains, this means that judges are often only able to devote as much time to major trials as judges in 'night traffic court' have time to devote to small fines for minor driving offenses."

judicial confirmations
Just last month, the White House sounded the alarm on its stymied nominees and the judicial crisis and the unprecedented delays created by the Republicans in the Senate.

The administration also has a hand in this, with President Obama nominating judges at a slower rate than the rate they're retiring at. But there are still at least another 10 nominees waiting confirmation after these 10 are considered by the Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:04:11 AM PDT

  •  this is a terrible problem... (7+ / 0-)

    the ignorance of the republicans is breathtaking

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." Ansel Adams........................................................ "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

    by Statusquomustgo on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:07:38 AM PDT

    •  I would not call it ignorance, (5+ / 0-)

      more like willful negligence....

      and the only way to stop this nonsense......

      http://october2011.org/...

      Please do not tell me you are involved by being a member of DK4.... really get involved...... http://october2011.org/frontpage.... The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

      by Mindmover on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:27:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you figure that they are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Statusquomustgo

      working for Wall Street, they are exceeding expectations.  Without judges, the mortgage mess will never be cleaned up.  The pressure will rise, and rise again, to 'put it all behind us', and the lower income 99% will have to accept whatever they are offered.  

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 08:13:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  repo blocking judges (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, the repos do represent ignorance as well as hatred and cruelty.

      The demos in the senate had an opportunity to change the rules on filibusters and other repo blocking techniques at the beginning of this year.  Of course, they refused to do it. Now the demos claim helplessness in the face of the 60 vote threshold.

      So, as the repos represent ignorance and hatred, etc, it is clear as can be the demos in the senate are the biggest buffoons and eunichs to have set foot in the "hallowed halls" of the senate.

      •  The Dems decision to not change Senate rules (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        len chaitin

        was naive.

        Harry Reid and the Democrats need to repeat this every day:

        Republicans cannot be trusted.
        Republicans cannot be trusted.
        Republicans cannot be trusted.
        Republicans cannot be trusted.
        Republicans cannot be trusted.
        Republicans cannot be trusted.
        Republicans cannot be trusted.
        Republicans cannot be trusted.

        "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by bear83 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:52:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  anyone think this is a deliberate (10+ / 0-)

    GOP strategy to have lots of appointments available when they win the WH in 2012?

    why I'm a Democrat - Isaiah 58:6-12, Matthew 25:31-46

    by marking time on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:34:47 AM PDT

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marcos9287, Marjmar, phonegery

      (but I would put win in scarequotes...when they "win" the WH in 2012).    :)

      "What would you think me if I were capable of seating myself at a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of my fellow beings starving to death." - Eugene Victor Debs

      by DianeNYS on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 12:27:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  well of course (5+ / 0-)

      It's what they did during Clinton's second term.  They don't really care much about democracy after all.  Their governing philosophy is to use the rules as much as possible to get as much power as possible, and everything else can be damned.

      •  GOP = better politicians (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83

        Truth is that the GOP seems to be better politicians than the Democrats. They're smarter in using the rules to their advantage, have less or no scruples and march in lockstep giving a more unified front. They're just very awfull at govering.

        The Democrats are exactly the opposite... Like Will Rogers said "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat". They have too much scruples, don't dare usung the rules to the fullest and are never forming a unified front. Their policies however are miles beter than the GOP's but alas due to hte GOP's tactics they are often blocked.

        Obama-Biden in 2012!

        by Frederik on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 04:30:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure I'd call them better politicians (0+ / 0-)

          I would go with devious, scheming, power-hungry liars.

          "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by bear83 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:55:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That too (0+ / 0-)

            but in the end, they still get most what they want, which may make them cynical, crooked but also effective politicians. I wish our pols had a little more backbone... the Democrats should take a look at how the GOP works and use/adapt the positive things while avoiding their negatives. If they do that and act united for once, they might accompish something.

            Obama-Biden in 2012!

            by Frederik on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:44:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  You could have read this post... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, TheUnknown285

    ...almost word for word on Redstate in 2007 or so.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:02:55 PM PDT

    •  Except it would've been a lie (6+ / 0-)

      The numbers above show clearly that Bush the Lesser had nearly 25% more appointments go thru. They say lots of crap on RS, most of it is lies.

      GOP 2012 -- Austerity is just around the corner!

      by ontheleftcoast on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:36:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast, bear83, JC from IA

      that's called "innoculation"

      It's been standard practice for decades for the Republicans to accuse the Democrats of doing exactly what they themselves are doing.  And then when Democrats complain about the true state of affairs, the idiot media fall back on their "he said, she said" mode of reporting.

      •  Thurmond rule (0+ / 0-)

        Plus the unofficial Thurmond rule further effectively limits the time a president can effectively nominate judges.

        The Thurmond rule says:
        - no lifetime judicial appointments would move in the last six months or so of a lame-duck presidency
        - judicial nominations do not advance in the Senate in the latter part of a presidential election year without the support of Senate leaders and top lawmakers on the Judiciary committee.

        It's an effective way of avoiding the kind of midnight appointments which the first President Adams did in his final days and which lead to controversy which in turn lead to the landmark Marbury v Madison.

        Obama-Biden in 2012!

        by Frederik on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 04:17:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is (0+ / 0-)

          Republicans have applied the 'Thurmond Rule' for Obam's entire term.

          "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by bear83 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:57:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The backlog is a feature, not a bug. (4+ / 0-)

    Eyes on the prize: privatization. Corporate interests used to be fairly reliable "good government" supporters of the federal judicial system because they needed the courts to enforce their contracts, protect their intellectual property, and provide a venue that would defuse angry consumers without  being overly plaintiff-friendly as many state systems were seen to be. With the growth of private justice (aka alternative dispute resolution), businesses no longer need the courts all that much. Consumers can be shunted to arbitration by clauses that are now routinely upheld no matter how business-tilted. Business-to-business disputes can be handled by mediation or arbitration faster and less expensively than court litigation. Although not as much cheaper as touted, it has the critical feature of secrecy. No pesky public disclosure of smoking guns or sweetheart deals. No development of case law that might be inconvenient next time around. And, of course, as repeat players the businesses are better able to influence or capture the private justice industry.

    Private justice has been blessed by the courts somewhat begrudgingly at times, but largely because of the stresses on the system -- anything that clears the docket is a plus. Without what used to be unified corporate and non-corporate support for judicial pay increases & other court needs, enter the death spiral: fewer judges with dockets now light on the interesting cases that drew them to the bench and laden with criminal cases, prisoner litigation, pro se wackos, personal injury, and the occasional bankruptcy appeal; job becomes less desirable; pay drops below that of junior associates at big firms; judges resign at an unprecedented rate; vacancies go unfilled; lather, rinse, repeat. (Life tenure is still a big draw, but it doesn't pay for Junior's Harvard education.)

    That's just the district courts. At the courts of appeals, partisan politics play a much bigger role, as we all know. Either party will try to put in more of its own kind and keep out the other kind. (Repubs do seem to be much more disciplined about developing a stable and pushing their nominations than Clinton and Obama have been, for whatever reason, and I suspect that's where the corporate support now goes.) But at the courts of appeals, you also sometimes have gameplaying by judges on the courts to avoid new appointments by the "wrong" party. If the court doesn't ask for another judgeship, one isn't created; if they claim "everything's fine here!" it becomes an excuse not to fill an existing vacancy. (This isn't always public -- remember that almost every circuit judge has a friend or two in the Senate.) These logjams tend to clear up after a president is reelected because they can't justify four more years of overburdening their colleagues just to obtain nominees to their liking.

    In today's budget climate, add to all the partisan political stuff the reality of cost -- every filled judgeship costs money (ten years ago or so it was about $1m, presumably more these days). Once filled, that is largely non-discretionary (entirely so as to judicial salary; difficult to cut the rest, which is formula-driven usually by the numbers of judges and cases). Although the judicial branch is a tiny, tiny part of the federal budget, there's no great percentage in it for Congress to help it out.

    •  Fascinating (2+ / 0-)

      I thought my spotlight had pretty well illuminated the whole privatization racket. But I never saw privatizing the justice system coming.

      Thank you Villanova Rhodes for the remarkable insight.

      •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

        In this case, it's a little bit of a twist on the usual privatization push -- it is not entirely to push the money to campaign donors, for example, but to build up an alternative structure that better serves their private interests. Some parallels here with the use of contractors to do things the military used to do.

    •  Comprehensive, and because of that, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Villanova Rhodes

      so very depressing.

      Isn't there also the 'rent a retired judge' option?  S/he does the preliminary work, taking depositions, whatever, which moves your case forward so that it gets in the line sooner and gets heard sooner?  

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 09:00:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depressing indeed. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know of good data on the question, but it appears retired judges are more likely to get into the private judging business (acting as mediators & arbitrators) than the grunt work of litigating. It might track whatever was the larger or more enjoyable part of their career. Some judges really were happier as trial lawyers. It used to be that retired judges would show up in the larger or more elite law firms to add prestige, but these days they need to bring in money as well, so they are probably doing more trial work.

  •  cornell belcher went off on Cain on Cooper's show (0+ / 0-)

    he called Cain a racist and a bigot and said there is a double standard in the media.

  •  "To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marjmar, phonegery, JC from IA

    or delay, right or justice."

    Just last month, the White House sounded the alarm on its stymied nominees and the judicial crisis and the unprecedented delays created by the Republicans in the Senate.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:36:43 PM PDT

  •  On this one Harry Ried is pathetic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, TheUnknown285, len chaitin

    he should stop all Senate business until judicial nominations are dealt with.  What a wimp.

  •  I'm betting that the strategy here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, JC from IA

    is that the GOP is betting the Democrats will not do what they did if Perry or Romney gets the White House but the Democrats keep the Senate at the very worst.

    At the very best, for the Right not the nation, they are both denying Obama the right to seat non-wingnut justices and getting to go about manufacturing a huge crisis that will lead a potential GOP Senate Leadership and Republican Presidency ratfuck.

    The Great Seating.

    I think the GOP loves the filibuster too much to kill it and then create a situation where the Democrats would have a filibuster-free Senate in the future, so, keep the filibuster but suspend it and holds. Like a suspension of the rules due to a "legal state of emergency" or somesuch thing (no Holds, no filibusters) that allows a tag-team with a President Perry or Romney for a mass ScAlito-Roberts-Thomas wave of appointments.

    The Republican Party doesn't do anything without a screwjob agenda in mind for somebody.

  •  Obama Carries Much of the Blame (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery

    The diarist noted that President Obama has been nominating judges at a slower rate than that at which they're retiring. That's unacceptable. Given the back log of vacancies the nomination rate should exceed the rate of retirement.

    And then we have situations like one in Kansas where one sitting federal judge, Wesley Brown, is 104 (born in 1907). Just this week he handed down an opinion that Kansas is constitutionally entitled to prohibit private health insurance from covering abortion, lest anyone be a party to partially paying for something to which they morally object. Does the man even know what abortion is? Or what war is? Or what an execution is?

    •  Obama needs buy in from home state Senators (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      squarewheel

      before he nominates someone. Otherwise, the nominees just end up with a permanent hold as senators refuse to turn in their 'blue slips' so the nominee can move forward.

      For instance, Sen Ron Johnson (WI) is holding up Loius Butler Jr (nominated Sept 30, 2009) because Johnson does not like him.

      A Native American, Arvo Mikkanen, was nominated 2/2/11 for a Oklahoma seat, but is being held up by both the Oklahoma senators.

      Many of the vacancies with no nominees are open (such as in TX and AZ) because Senators can't seem to find anyone who both they and the President will support.

      http://judicialnominations.org/

      "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by bear83 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 08:34:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Get your facts straight (0+ / 0-)

        Johnson isn't holding up Butler because he doesn't like him. Get your facts straight. The GOP is holding up Butler even from before Johnson defeated Feingold... Their rationale being that as Butler was defeated by the people of Wisconsin for relection to the state Supreme Court, he thus must not be hoisted on them as a life long federal judge. Which of course is bullocks because the one is separate from the other.

        Obama-Biden in 2012!

        by Frederik on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 04:11:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Give me a fucking break. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83

      Give us all a fucking break.

      Is the Senate waiting on nominations from Obama, or is Obama waiting for the Senate to act on nominations?

      Is there something to be gained for ANYONE by stacking more nominations in the hopper when the Senate is stalling them?  Does putting even MORE nominees on hold for a year or more serve some purpose?

      Or, are you just another of McCarter's Obama-Bashers, drooling when she rings the fucking bash bell?

    •  Senior Judge (0+ / 0-)

      Brown is not a pure active judge but assumed senior status on September 1, 1979. Senior judges can hear cases as well but don't count for the quota of judges allowed to each judicial district. They're semi retired.

      Obama-Biden in 2012!

      by Frederik on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 04:08:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More strangling government in the bathtub, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    except not by cutting costs.  Judges themselves are being cut, or  rather, not replaced.  

    This time though, the fundamental structure of what is known as democracy is hamstrung.  The judiciary is functionally one-third third  of  the system that can protect living people from corporate ones.  

    The judicial branch cannot function without judicial officers.  This is not cutting some legislative-created program or agency as we have seen in the past, this is actually removing part of the very structure of our country's government.

    One more sign that our country is f/k/a a democracy.  Its not a democracy or constitutional republic any more, or whatever it is called that we are supposed to be.

    ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

    by Seldom Seen on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 08:38:10 PM PDT

  •  I'm litigating in Federal Court right now (4+ / 0-)

    The shortage of Judges really hurts.  It takes forever to get a case to trial.  It is justice denied.

  •  Fortunately... (0+ / 0-)

    There are ten judges set to be confirmed next week.  Source.

    •  a drip on a hot plate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83

      Those are all non contentious nominees. And even they are going at snail's pace. Judge Floyd's nomination is even explicitly supported and avocated by Sen. Graham (R-SC) and is only now getting on the executive calendar for a vote.

      Obama-Biden in 2012!

      by Frederik on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:08:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Say what, now? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83
    The administration also has a hand in this, with President Obama nominating judges at a slower rate than the rate they're retiring at. But there are still at least another 10 nominees waiting confirmation after these 10 are considered by the Senate.

    The Administration only "has a hand in this" if the Senate is sitting around waiting for nominations.  They clearly are not, and have not been during Obama's time in office.

    Can't you turn the goddamned Obama Bash switch off for one fucking diary?

  •  Well, there's plenty of blame to go around (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    There's also a silver lining.  Goodwin Liu is now stashed on the California Supreme Court, where he can bide his time until the next Democratic administration.  Yes, maybe Obama could nominate more judges, but given the reality of the 60-vote confirmation threshold, he can concentrate on other things, like jobs (cough, cough).  Still, I think this diary points the finger squarely at Mitch McConnell, where it should be pointed.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:47:46 PM PDT

  •  Not that slow (0+ / 0-)

    JC is right that the Senate is not "sitting around waiting for nominations."  Obama has 58 nominations pending for the 93 vacancies.  Not all of them have had hearings, but if the Senate were to move faster, we'd have only 35 vacancies, not 93.  Still a lot, but not even in the ballpark of 93.

    BTW, of those 58, as Joan mentioned, 27 are awaiting floor votes. After Monday, we'll have 17 awaiting floor votes, but on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will pass 5 more nominees, so we'll be back up to 22 by the end of next week, out of 83 vacancies.

    Kudos should go to Obama for transforming the 4th Circuit, which used to be the Right's favorite appellate court for civil rights and presidential power cases.  It had 6 Republican appointees and 5 Democrats, with 4 vacancies when he took office, and after Floyd's confirmation on Monday, it will have 9 Democratic appointees, 5 Republicans, and 1 vacancy.  This matters--the 4th was the Circuit that threw out the ACA lawsuit recently.

    •  We will still have 86 vacancies (0+ / 0-)

      even after the 10 nominees are confirmed.

      - Floyd is moving up from District Court, so his confimation fills a seat on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, but opens one up at the District Court level.

      - By the time these 10 are confirmed, there will have been 2 more judges move to Senior or Retired status.

      Circuit/District  Incumbent  Vacancy Reason  Vacancy Date  
      05 - TXE  Ward,T. John  Retired  10/01/2011    
      DC - CCA  Ginsburg,Douglas H.  Senior  10/14/2011

      http://www.uscourts.gov/...

      The net reduction in vacancies will be just 7.

      "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by bear83 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 08:09:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blame where blame is due (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    "...fallen victim to Republican obstruction."

    No, these nominations have fallen victim to a Senate majority that has decided to keep the hold and the filibuster.  

    Both of these peculiar institutions are to be found nowhere in either the Constitution or in law.  They are both merely rules of the Senate.  As such they can be changed at the beginning of every Congress.  In fact, they have to be reinstituted at the beginning of every Congress.  All you would need is for a simple majority to vote rules that reject these two institutions.  But they can also be changed at any time by a parliamentary ruling from the Chair, a ruling that only needs a simple majority to be sustained and thereby effectively end the filibuster and the hold.

    I don't think that there's any serious doubt that the simple D majority in the Senate has the power to end the hold and the filibuster.  Nor is there serious doubt that there would be definite benefits to ending these institutions, one of which is discussed here, that the incumbent D president would get his judicial nominations voted on, that they would be freed from the veto point these institutions create that has let a Senate minority deny the nation the judicial choices of the president and Senate majority.  What seems to be in dispute are the risks, the down-sides to ending the filibuster and the hold, and whether they outweigh the benefits.

    I don't see much downside.  The argument I see for a downside is that if we get rid of these veto points, then in the future when we are in the minority, and really need to block some horrific R judicial appointee, we won't have these two tools available to do the job.  The obvious problem with that argument is that we only have to look to the last time the Rs had the majority in the Senate and an R president.  They got our side to forego using the filibuster and hold on judicial nominees by threatening to change the rules and end these practices.  Our side didn't get to use these veto points the last time we needed them.  Why would anyone think that we will get to use them the next time?  Have the Rs gotten mellower since the last time, more respectful of us and bipartisanship, more ready to do unto others and turn the other cheek?

    Anyone who claims that it's a good idea to keep the hold and the filibuster needs to explain why they support a fake, paraconstitutional, veto point that only Rs get to use, or, alternately, make the case that my premise is wrong, that there is every chance that that the Rs will forego even threatening the nuclear option and let us use these practices the next time the shoe is on the other foot.

    Sure, to end these practices now, by having Biden make a parliamentary ruling clearly at odds with rules we let stand at the start of Congress, is to end them with the worst possible optics.  Better to have changed the rules at the beginning of the current Congress.  Better still to have refused to cave when the Rs threatened the nuclear option, filibustered every Bush nominee who wasn't as straight up the ideological middle as they let past when a D is president, and dared them to do something about it.  They might have folded and let the Ds force moderate judges, and then I would agree that maybe the filibuster is something worth keeping, because that would have proved that, wise institution or not in general, at least it isn't one-sided, something available only to Rs, something instead that we could assume the Rs would continue to respect.  But they might not have folded, they might have gone through with their threat and ended the filibuster and hold.  But then we would now be living in a post-filibuster world, and our nominees would be on the bench.

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda.  That's all past history now.  The question now is whether we do the right and necessary thing now, after letting pass much better opportunities.  It's still the right and necessary thing to to end these fake veto points, more urgent than ever before now that we have seen how ruthless the other side is in using other fake and illegitimate veto points like budget reconciliation and the debt ceiling.  Put off doing the right thing again just because there's a price to be paid, and the only thing that accomplishes is to insure that the eventual price we pay is that much higher.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 07:43:01 AM PDT

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