Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Steve Benen:

About a month ago, Sen. Richard Shelby, a far-right Republican from Alabama, decided to place a blanket hold on all pending administration nominees, including officials related to national security....

Shelby eventually backed down (a little), and lifted some of his holds. Two weeks later, the Senate approved 27 high-level nominees.

Now, the blanket hold on all pending administration nominees is reportedly back. Take a wild guess who's behind it.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), says that Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) has placed a hold on all pending nominations now before the Senate. He says there are now "several dozen" nominations on the Senate calendar....

May I inform you of how much worse this is going to get?

You're reading it here first: When Barack Obama leaves office, there will not be nine sitting Supreme Court justices. There may be eight, or seven, or even six.

It won't be because he didn't have time to fill the vacancies. He'll have had ample time. It will be because Republican obstructionism is only going to escalate -- especially if Republicans take over the Senate after the 2010 elections (but it will surely happen even if Democrats retain nominal control). The Republicans will filibuster his Supreme Court picks -- all of them -- and no one will stop them.

The mandarins of D.C., the Broders and Richard Cohens, won't declare this shameless. They'll demand that the president "compromise" -- even though Republicans will make it perfectly clear that the only acceptable compromise will be to fill vacancies from a GOP list of Federalist Society jurists.

Unless official Washington develops a sense of right and wrong, this is going to happen. And President Palin or President Pawlenty or President Romney or President Thune, in 2013 or 2017, will get to pack the Court.

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