Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Voting no

What can be a sufficient reason for voting no on a supreme court nominee but not filibustering?

-threat of the nuclear option?
-some measure of deference to elected executive?
-nominee within judicial mainstream?
-political/re-election considerations

Are legislators who vote no legitimately able to disclaim future bad rulings if they don't filibuster? I'm having trouble figuring out why, if someone 1) doesn't approve of the nominee and 2) recognizes the importance of a lifetime appointment to supreme court, she doesn't feel compelled to filibuster. Seems like the poster child of the split-the-difference nature of politics.

2 Comments:

Blogger Vergasy said...

I think the (insufficient?) rationale is deference to the executive and some measure of respect for the democratic process.

Good question--why is the filibuster that even an option at all? It seems totally undemocratic.

Also, glad someone else is blogging again.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Tally Ho said...

Well the Senate in general is undemocratic in the sense of violating the whole "one person one vote" thing . . .. or at least democratic equality.

But given that the filibuster is an option, I think the pol. sci. answer (at least with respect to the field of American Politics) would relate to veto points. The idea, basically, is that if we conceive of policy choices as existing on a left right scale (let's say the real number line), then the policy can only be pushed within a certain bounded segment because players can prevent it from moving outside those bounds because of certain institutional constructs (the president's veto, the preferred policy position of the most decisive voter who is needed to make a majority, a filibuster that can't be broken).

In this case I think that the filibuster doesn't represent a veto point since Alito is not sufficiently far to the right to keep the moderate Elephants from being willing to rewrite the rules regarding the filibuster’s use if the Donkeys implement it

6:22 PM  

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