Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Shedd Vote and the Coming Filibuster?

Byron York comments on the Shedd vote, and notes that the Democrats ability to muster 44 votes in opposition was intended to send an ominous message to Republicans--they have enough votes to filibuster a nominee any time they want.

True enough, but theory and practice are very different things on the Senate floor. You still take political heat for filibustering (i.e., you are do nothing obstructionists), which means that the Democrats are not likely to do so unless they have a candidate dead-to-rights. This returns the Senate to something more like the pre-Leahy/Schumer standard. Accordingly, if they are able to completely demonize a candidate as they did (or, more appropriately, attempted to do) with Bork, they will have the votes to filibuster, but otherwise, I think they will do what they did here: express their displeasure with a high "no" vote count. Thus, for example, Justice Owens gets through, and if they even think of filibustering Estrada, they are likley to get flogged by fellow Democrats with Hispanic constituencies.

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that Landrieu voted against the Shedd nomination. There has been a lot of back and forth on this, and her final vote suggests that she is attempting to shore up support with minority groups, which have been lukewarm to her candidacy and which opposed the Shedd confirmation.

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