Sunday, July 03, 2005

Back in the day

The President tried to find consensus candidates that the minority party could agree with. But now not only will that not happen, but the Republicans in the majority since 2000 have eliminated blue slipping taking away the ability to single Senators in the minority to block nominees, and done away with Rule IV requiring some minority support to move a nomination out of committee.
Originally, after Republicans gained control of the Senate in the 1994 elections and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch assumed control of the Judiciary Committee, the rule regarding judicial nominees was this: If a single senator from a nominee's home state objected to (or "blue-slipped") a nomination, it was dead. This rule made it easy for Republicans to obstruct Clinton's nominees.

But in 2001, when a Republican became president, Hatch suddenly reversed course and decided that it should take objections from both home-state senators to block a nominee. That made it harder for Democrats to obstruct George W. Bush's nominees.

In early 2003 Hatch went even further: Senatorial objections were merely advisory, he said. Even if both senators objected to a nomination, it could still go to the floor for a vote.

Finally, a few weeks later, yet another barrier was torn down: Hatch did away with "Rule IV," which states that at least one member of the minority has to agree in order to end discussion about a nomination and move it out of committee.

This President seems to have no interest in finding consensus candidates as Clinton did in 1993. Yes, it turns out both Ginsberg and Breyer were the first choice of one Senator Orrin Hatch.

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