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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Goodwin Liu, and So’s Your Old Man!

Today Senate Republicans filibustered the confirmation of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit U.S. Appeals Court. The official rationale from Senate Republicans was, basically: so’s your old man! During the Bush administration, Democrats preserved the right to filibuster Republican nominees for federal judicial spots, so we will filibuster your people!
I’m a bit heretical on this subject, believing that if we are going to have filibuster rights at all, they are more appropriate for lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary than for legislation that future Congresses can repeal.
But the Liu controversy reveals the very different levels of emphasis that conservatives and progressives place on judicial appointments. It’s holy war for conservatives, as suggested by their ready flip-flop from support for a “nuclear option” to kill judicial filibusters when it happened to suit their purposes, to an entirely contrary position now. It just doesn’t seem to be that big a deal for Democrats. And that’s a problem.

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