Idea storage

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day! Checks and Balances Are Plugging Right Away ...

Couple of articles in the past few days regarding the O'Connor resignation: The New York Times has this piece about how senators and other politicians and interest groups have started the war of words on talk shows and editorials (you have to subscribe for free to get the Times online). Right now the dispute is over procedure, and specifically, what questions of the candidate are "appropriate." Of course, while the debate is phrased as procedural, the ultimate goal for both sides is policy.

Even before O'Connor announced her retirement, there were reports of interest groups starting to prepare for a battle, presumably at the time anticipating a Rhenquist announcement. The fact that it's O'Connor and not Rhenquist makes the position even more important. Here in New Hampshire I recall that Republican Attorney Tom Rath, longtime friend of Souter and Rudman has already been assigned to start campaigning for the appointee, whoever that may be.

The Washington Post also has a procedure-oriented story about a deal that was made among seven Republican and seven Democrat senators to avoid filibusters save for "extraordinary circumstances." Will this box the Democrats in and prevent them from getting the most possible leverage in the attempt to force a more moderate nominee? We'll see - I'm sure some of the Democrats will not find the agreement binding, especially if they objected to it in the first place.


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