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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Monday, February 28, 2005
Judicial nomination showdown
Posted 10:11 AM by Luke
When Chief Justice Rehnquist announces his resignation later this year, as he is likely to do, a battle of rare proportions will ensue in the United States Senate. As I see it, there are four possible, but not equally likely, scenarios:

1. The President will find a moderate or relatively unknown judicial nominee, and both parties will approve this nominee with little conflict... This is unlikely. With today's incredible political pressure surrounding the nomination process, any candidate will be subjected to intense scrutiny. With abortion and other social issues on the block, too much is at stake;

2. The President will nominate a conservative of his liking, the Democrats will threaten filibuster, and the Republicans will use the so-called "nuclear option" to unilaterally declare filibustering of judicial nominees to be unconstitutional, then requiring a simple majority to approve the nomination... Majority leader Frist keeps talking up this option, but this might be mere hot air to pressure the Democrats. Judiciary Committee Chair, Arlen Specter, recently said that the "nuclear option" would be a bad idea;

3. The President will nominate a conservative of his liking, the Democrats will threaten filibuster, and the Republicans will force them to filibuster for a long duration, resulting in a virtual shutdown of the Senate. Eventually the two sides would be forced to find a compromise candidate, or option #4;

4. The two sides will be unable to agree upon President Bush's pick and the Court will be short a justice... The Supreme Court may have less than 9 members, but I believe that Congress must pass a law to change the current number. Please let me know if I have this aspect incorrect.

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