Senate Reaches Filibuster Deal

It’s over for now:

Senators Said to Reach Filibuster Deal (AP)

Centrists from both parties reached a compromise Monday night to avoid a showdown on
President Bush’s stalled judicial nominees and the Senate’s own filibuster rules, officials from both parties said.

These officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the agreement would clear the way for yes-or-no votes on some of Bush’s nominees, but make no guarantee.

Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush’s future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.

Under the agreement, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, nominated to a seat on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, would advance to a final confirmation vote.

Senators Reach Deal on Filibuster (WaPo)

Fourteen Republican and Democratic senators announced this evening they had reached a compromise designed to prevent a showdown over President Bush’s judicial nominations.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), speaking for the group of seven Republicans and seven Democrats, announced the agreement at a news conference at 7:40 p.m.

Under the deal, the Democrats agreed to accept cloture votes on three of President Bush’s judicial nominees. The Republicans pledged not to support the so-called “nuclear option” to end the ability of the minority to use filibusters to block nominees.

The group of senators, including Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Robert Byrd of West Virginia, said the Senate leadership had signaled it would go along with the compromise.

Hopefully, this issue can stay away for a while. I was among the very many Americans who could have cared less about the bickering. And, like Steve, I found both sides to be hypocritical. It was power politics, not principle, all the way through, and it frankly had me turned off most of the way.

Update: Of course, Senator McCain seems poised to reap most of the benefits.

Senators Compromise on Filibusters (CNN)

A bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement after days of talks to avert a showdown Tuesday over President Bush’s judicial nominees, Sen. John McCain announced Monday evening.

Standing with a group of 14 senators, the Arizona Republican said the seven Republicans and seven Democrats had brokered a deal to “avert a crisis” over the nominees.

Unfortunately for him, the next presidential election is still four years away. Only a small number of Americans will remember this episode then, and primary voters, who represent the biggest hump to his political aspirations, will give him few — if any — points for the moderate gesture. But at least he gets to overshadow Bush and Frist for a couple of press conferences.

Update II: Power Line thinks it’s “a hideous deal,” while Buzz Brockway exclaims: “Sell Outs!” Michelle Malkin is in agreement. So is the Daily Kos, who believes that his side has a “huge victory.”

My thinking is more in line with Steve Bainbridge:

No word yet on what “extraordinary circumstances” means, but I think this is probably a good outcome. Since I don’t believe that the GOP will control both the White House and the Senate for the rest of time, I’m glad to see the filibuster preserved as an option. There may come a day when conservatives need that tool.


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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Lyn says:

    Many more than a small number of Americans will remember Sen. McCain’s actions. I will be saving up between now and 2006 to contribute to the Senate Campaign of the opponent of every one of the perfidious 14 who is up for reelection. And I’m a Republican. Maybe the Democrats convinced these idiots that only “extremists” cared – a bad miscalculation. So is relying on a short memoryspan in the electorate.

  2. Red says:

    What a comprehensive round-up. Great job.

  3. MarkSC says:

    If there ever comes a time when Republicans need the filibuster then Democrats will do away with it citing Republican extremism.

    The Republicans got clubbed like baby seals.

  4. McGehee says:

    The Republicans got clubbed like baby seals.

    As ever.

  5. Bindare says:

    I agree with Lynn. I will send money to any conservative candidate who opposes these so-called Republican Senators in their next primary election. These sell-outs are the real reason for the weak showing of the majority party. Don’t blame Frist when he has to make the best of it working with these traitors to the Republican party. I almost would prefer a Arizona Democrat who did what we expected to a back stabbing opportunistic publicity hound like McCain.

  6. Brian says:

    McCain sealed his fate: He will never be president. He’ll be the media’s darling, but never, never get through the primaries. Keep names of the RINOs. Bury them.

  7. Anderson says:

    Well, y’all are ticked that the Repubs lost, & this Dem thinks that we got rolled, so maybe it’s a genuine compromise.

    I assume that the Dems didn’t feel confident they had the votes; it would be REALLY bad if they had ’em but folded anyway. Though quite typical.

    Sigh. Of Brown, Owen & Pryor, Brown’s the only really over-the-top one. (The Dems go on about “Owen took contributions from litigants before her,” evidently *completely* out of touch with the necessities of elected state judges.) Maybe the Dems will work to get a floor vote against her, which at least would get us back to the substance of these nominations, not a procedural diversion.

  8. Half Sigma says:

    The Republicans were real wusses. They should have changed the rules to their favor many weeks ago. The liberal media would have whined about it for one day or so, and then it would have been forgotten.

    So now three judges are in, and the Dems will make a big pain in the a** of themselves again when Bush appoints a new Supreme Court Justice. (Extraordinary cicrumstances, ha ha.)