I applaud your decision not to support the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. He does not a represent the highest ideals of this country for justices that would uphold the great principles behind our constitution over his own ideologies. He should be filibustered if necessary.
However, the threat of the “nuclear option” against any filibuster seems ultimately to become as effective as having no filibuster at all -- it never gets used.
I believe that America should have mainstream judges, not left nor right. This is much more important than some “presidential perogative”, which in fact has no value to Americans. Currently, there is a view that a President “deserves” to get nominees approved, but our Constitution provides for the President to choose not in order to shift the political tides on the Court and leave a legacy, but simply to provide for an efficient candidate identification process.
Because justices are seated for life and the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the interpretation of the Constitution, Supreme Court decisions need to be ones that will have both broad acceptance and enduring acceptance of the vast majority of Americans for decades through shifting political winds.
To this end, until the threat of the nuclear option, the filibuster rule in the Senate has helped prevent the tyranny of the bare majority. However, it is a Senate rule subject to change or elimination and not a right of the people.
So, while I would encourage using the filibuster against Alito, I would also suggest combining that with a strategy of declaring the importance to all Americans of having a right to mainstream judges -- and backing up that claim by simultaneously announcing the launch of a constitutional amendment to that effect, one requiring either 60% like a filibuster, or 66% like a treaty which also needs to sustain over the political winds of time).
To have legitimacy, court results need to be accepted as fair and unbiased by the vast majority of citizens. Such an amendment can increase that legitimacy.
By announcing the constitutional amendment at the same time, it elevates the discussion above claims of mere “partisan politics” regarding one nominee, to the greater principles of a democracy of, by and for the people.
Technorati Tags: Constitutional amendments, Filibuster, Judicial nominations