Huge, Huge Victory For Political Sanity Today

Digby

Kids, don’t say Harry Reid never did anything for you. He and the Senate Democrats just ended the use of the filibuster for executive branch appointments and lower court judges. What this means is that the dominance of our judicial system by batshit insane right wing extremists trained into radicalism by the federalist society is going to be diluted. That may not sound like much, but at this point it’s extremely important. If you’d like to see why, take a look at this:

McConnell-Filibuster-Chart-e1373648514319But, beyond the unprecedented frequency of filibusters under Mitch McConnell, the current Republican minority wielded them to seize an unprecedented degree of control over the law and the judiciary. With enough creativity, Senate Republicans discovered that the filibuster could not simply prevent new laws from being enacted, it could also be used to effectively repeal laws protecting workers and regulating Wall Street. By refusing to confirm nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench, they could also ensure that some of the nation’s most powerful courts remained in Republican hands. And looming over all of this is the next Supreme Court vacancy. If Senate Republicans will use the filibuster today to keep their grip on the nation’s second most powerful court, imagine what they’ll do if a justice retires.

The president will also now be allowed to make appointments to the executive branch with majority approval of the Senate. I know that sounds like something all presidents could pretty much take for granted, and until now they could. But Republicans have kept the president from filling important jobs throughout his term which one can only see as yet another form of governmental sabotage. “Nice little independent branch of government you have there. Be a shame if you couldn’t staff it ….”

This is a pretty monumental step and actually quite overdue. But at this point if the Democrats haven’t realized that they have nothing to lose by taking the bull by the horns, they never will. They get no credit for good intentions from these Republicans. They’ve been left with no choice if they hope to govern.

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