Filibusters are wrong when we disagree

Recently I received an email from Senator John Ensign, (R- Nevada), in which he states "I believe the
use of the filibuster in approving or disapproving judicial nominees is unconstitutional. Please be assured we are looking at every option to stop this practice including legal action."

Interesting. It is worthwhile taking a look at where the tradition of filibustering judicial nominations originated. At least six judicial appointments by President Bill Clinton were held up with filibusters in the previous administration. Although the practice started with the Republicans in the Senate using filibusters to block nominations they found objectionable that is not a basis for determining its constitutionality or not.

Many of the pieces of propaganda on this matter suggest the Senate is somehow duty bound to vote using a simple majority on nominations. However, the founding fathers, in the Constitution left no such guidance. The Constitution says that the President makes appointments with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. It is notably silent on how the chamber is to arrive at its consent. Perhaps they will one-day choose a 90-vote super-super-majority. That, it seems, would be equally constitutional and would likely lead to many centrist appointments.

Are many centrists better than a mixture of extremists? A question for another day...