Saturday, March 26, 2005

In the Rose Is Rose comic strip, Pasquale's greedy cousin Clem is more than just selfish; he operates according to a strict credo, which is: "Take everything." If there are three brownies, he doesn't snatch two; his credo requires absconding with all three.
Having barely squeaked out a presidential victory and somewhat widened their control of Congress, Republicans are determined to stack the courts, especially the Supreme Court, with far right judges. Instead of uniting the country with moderate judges who would represent us all, they want to "Take everything."
The Senate instituted the filibuster to protect the minority party against just such grabbiness. Sixty votes are required to cut off debate, and unless the majority party can muster that many, the minority can delay and possibly forestall some votes. Frustrated by this pesky curb on their power, Republicans are contemplating eliminating the time honored rule of the filibuster. If Bill Frist can twist enough arms to get 51 votes, the minority will be completely silenced for the first time in two hundred years.
Republicans would like us to believe they are driven to this extremity by Democratic intransigence, but they themselves have obstructed far more judicial appointments. A March 6 Newswatch article in the Post-Dispatch pointed out that Republicans used their "control of the Senate Judiciary panel to block 60 percent of [Clinton's] appellate bench choices in his last two years." Democrats, in contrast, have blocked only ten of Bush's appellate nominees.
Still, the G.O.P. feels justified in squashing the opposition. Clem would approve. "Take everything."

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