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July 06, 2005

Supreme Court Wars: Could We Actually Win 'Em?

Taranto notes:

And Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said on "Fox News Sunday" (no transcript online), "One of the things that bothers me is . . . the groups all mobilize, the money all raised, the expectation of spots back and forth--I think that is destructive, candidly, to the process. And this Judiciary Committee is pretty solid."

Why would Democratic senators go out of their way to distance themselves from the "groups" whose bidding they've eagerly done in the past? Perhaps because they realize that this time they cannot deliver. For all the nervousness on the right, the GOP is in an extremely strong position. This will be the first time since 1986 that a Republican Supreme Court nominee will face a Republican Senate, and the 55-seat majority is more than during any GOP presidency since Hoover's. And unlike in 1987 (Bork) and 1991 (Thomas), this time there are well-funded interest groups on the right as well as the left.

True, the Democrats may be willing to use the filibuster, a weapon they didn't deploy in previous Supreme Court battles. But seven senators are now on record as pledging to abjure this tactic except in "extraordinary circumstances," and, as we noted last month, at least five who were not parties to the compromise seem to have a disinclination to filibuster.

But one must also weigh the Republican Senators who are Beloved of the New York Times. You know the list.

The Democrats might not filibuster, but we might ultimately lose on an up-or-down vote on an "extremist" (i.e., mainstream conservative) jurist due to McCain's burning passion to have Chris Matthews say nice things about him.

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posted by Ace at 03:36 PM

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