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Tuesday, December 13, 2005 

Senate Nuclear Option Is Nuclear Stupid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd warned Monday that he would bring the U.S. Senate to a virtual standstill if Republicans carry out a threat to change its rules by outlawing filibusters on judicial nominations.

Byrd of West Virginia, a staunch defender of the Senate's often arcane rules and procedures, was responding to a comment by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who said Sunday he might move to restrict filibusters if Democrats try to block the nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As much as I dislike Byrd (a KKKat by a different color is still a KKKat), I agree with him, and completely disagree with Senate Republicans. I understand the frustration with the current trend of filibustering a judicial nominee. I understand it is an abuse of the tool, and an abuse of the system. I understand that this era of “self importance” has led Washington down a path that put’s their political interests above the public interest.

But because the folly of a few, we don’t suddenly start changing the rules. I think this would invite an even more destructive pattern and precedent. Senate Republicans (and Bill Frist) need to remember that they will not always be the majority party, and that if they can suddenly change rules to suite their agenda, so can Democrats when they are the majority party.

I would rather Frist and others simply put this into the court of public opinion, and let the political suicide effect take its course. Holding up all legislation infinitely so that you can keep the Senate from voting is something I think no Senator can do, and keep their seat.

Gang of 14, Where are you?