Sunday, May 01, 2005

ACSBlog has Stone on filibusters

This ACS post quotes Geoffrey Stone on the filibuster.

I agree with almost all of it, except for the implication that the Republicans should be expected to do anything other than what they are doing, or that the Democrats in the same circumstances would not do the same thing. How could partisans do otherwise, but to press for confirmation of judges they believe are best for America?

From what little I know, and it is little, the several court of appeals appointees could have been confirmed, and nothing much would have changed. The ideological balance of the circuits will not be changed with then more appointees. The minority party, too, is exercising raw power for partisan purposes. The selection of the filibuster targets does not make much sense otherwise. There ought to be a way to root out real clunkers, but it is not clear to me that any of these are.

Stone writes: "The nightmare scenario is a moment in time in which one faction gains control of the White House, the Senate, the House and the judiciary, then uses that dominance to redesign the processes of government to ensure its perpetuation in power." I agree with that, too, but has that happened before? Sooner or later, the voters throw the bums out, and the academicians talk of "realignment." The more recurring scenario is "what comes around, goes around."

By the way, in my current stash of library books, among them is Stone's Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from The Sedition Act of 1798 to The War on Terrorism.

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