Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pickering on McCain's "Gang of 14"

The Republican National Lawyers Association and Southern Appeal both mention Judge Pickering's view on the Gang of 14.

There is no way you can look at that agreement as a Democratic victory. Two days after the Deal was announced, Owen was confirmed by the Senate. Two weeks later, Brown was confirmed, and the next day the Senate confirmed Pryor. These confirmations were exactly what President Bush and the Republicans had tried to accomplish for five long years and the Democrats had blocked.

The confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Sam Alito --two exceptionally capable and conservative jurists-- were made relatively easy because of the "Gang of Fourteen Agreement."

Judge Pickering wrote extensively on the Gang of 14 in Supreme Chaos and while it wasn't an ultimate solution to the trench warfare over the judicial nominations, he did believe it to be a strategic no-lose situation for Republicans. The Gang of 14 Republicans agreed not to use the "Constitutional" or "nuclear" option and the Democrats agreed not to filibuster. But with no filibuster there was no occasion for Republicans to employ their parliamentary tactic. Pickering writes:

In a sense, the seven Republicans made an empty gesture in the agreement. If the Democrats did not filibuster, there would be no reason or occasion for the Republicans to vote for the constitutional option. In essence, the Republicans ceded nothing...But as a whole, the deal allowed the confirmation of Republican nominees and raised the filibuster threshold for the future...The American people and the Senate had grown tired of the special-interest groups fighting every day for five years to keep Bush's nominees off the Courts. And with the new Gang of 14 threshold in place, the climate of debate had changed.

No comments: