By Steve Eggleston
Fresh off the betrayal of the pro-life movement by their House counterparts by their refusal to harmonize abortion policy with Europe’s ban on abortion after 20 weeks (though they did pass a permanent extension of the Hyde Amendment, which generally forbids federal funds for abortions), a couple of key Senate Republicans are mulling a formal extension of Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid’s “nuking” of the filibustering of Presidential nominees to Supreme Court nominees (H/T – Jazz Shaw).
The “good” news is that Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO, and the chair of the Senate Rules committee) will seek to do that through the regular order of having 2/3rds of the Senate vote to change the rule instead of Reid’s parlimentary trick of using a simple majority to change the interpretation of Senate rules. The bad news is a multitude: they are confidants of Senate Majority “Leader” Mitch McConnell (R-KY), they appear to have no intention of restoring the filibuster for other Presidential nominees though that is still on the books, and they somehow got Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) on board.
The excuse that the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees has to go now in order for it to be gone for the next President is a bunch of hogwash. The next Senate will be sworn in before the next President. Rather, it has all the hallmarks of yet another betrayal by the more-or-less minority half of the bipartisan Party-In-Government, especially since two of the four Supreme Court Justices most likely to not make it to 2017 are not ultra-liberal and one of those is one of the three reliable conservatives.
At the moment, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is one of the few who wants to keep the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. I somehow suspect he’ll change his tune once McConnell and company explain who gets shafted the most.