Senate Republican leaders are preparing for a showdown to keep Democrats from blocking President Bush's judicial nominations, including a replacement for Rehnquist.
Republicans say that Democrats have abused the filibuster by blocking 10 of the president's 229 judicial nominees in his first term -- although confirmation of Bush nominees exceeds in most cases the first-term experience of presidents dating to Ronald Reagan. (Washington Post)
Robert Kuttner, May 2001:
Republicans used this system to block dozens of Clinton nominations, which were conveniently left for George W. Bush to fill. The GOP was particularly zealous in blocking appointments to appeals courts, which decide matters of law.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, Republicans and their allies in the media are painting the Bush administration as the victim of Democratic partisanship.
To a far greater degree than the Democrats who controlled the Senate during six of the Reagan-Bush I years, the Republican Senate played relentless hardball to keep Clinton from appointing even moderate judges, especially to appeals courts.
The Republican Congress also refused to create new judgeships necessary to handle an expanding population and caseload.
Under President Carter, 152 additional federal judgeships were created. Reagan and Bush each got 85, Clinton just nine.
Under Reagan and Bush, the the Senate, then controlled by Democrats, typically approved presidential nominations to the appellate bench within three to four months.
When the roles were reversed and Republican senators were in charge, the average delay rose to more than seven months in Clinton's second term and 280 days in Clinton's last two years, according to a tabulation by the Alliance for Justice.
By the end of 2000, the Senate had confirmed only 39 of 81 pending judicial nominees and just eight to appeals courts. Forty-two were left to lapse.
What can you say anymore? This GOP is just comical -- who can take them seriously?