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Will You Answer What Congress Won't? The Top 20 Questions pt 18

Back in late 2004 and early 2005, I sent emails, faxes, and letters to every member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. In it, I asked them for their answer to a set of twenty questions which the readers of Polipundit wanted asked. The text of the letter was posted here.

52 Readers in 38 states joined the effort, asking their district Representatives and Senators to answer the questions. Response from our elected Representatives and Senators was poor, predictably so. Most Congressmen and Senators simply ignored the letters, emails and faxes. In the end, only seventeen answered with any degree of substance, and not one answered more than two questions.

I was looking at the set of questions this week, and you know, they still look like good questions to me, so I am going to ask you for your opinion on them. This will take a while, since I am putting up one question for each post, but please give this your serious consideration. And folks, this is not about politics or smacking down the other side; this is an opportunity to explore the issues of substance for our country. Sad that Congress was not up to it, but maybe we can get the conversation going. Thanks in advance.


18. Should judicial nominees be guaranteed a "yes or no" vote in Committee? Why or why not?


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Comments (15)

Guaranteed? No. But the p... (Below threshold)
Skip:

Guaranteed? No. But the presumption should be that they will get an up or down vote excepting egregious circumstances. What do I mean by that? Let's say that one side decided to nominate someone who'd previously been disbarred, or was about to be convicted of something, or had some other clearly disqualifying characteristic (and I don't mean just their beliefs), but that side was determined to ram that person through. That type of nominee would be worthy of doing anything and everything to stop them.

But short of that? Yeah, they deserve a vote.

Yes, in all circumstances. ... (Below threshold)
Tim K:

Yes, in all circumstances. If a person is as clearly unsuitable as the one Skip posits, a "no" vote will clearly be forthcoming. There is no need for any exceptions. All nominees should get an up or down vote, not only in Committee, but in the full Senate.

Yes, I think they deserve a... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

Yes, I think they deserve an up or down vote, but let's not just require that vote. Let's put a time limit on an up or down vote to allow some time for questioning and fact finding first. It can be several hours of questioning, or several days of researching, THEN an up or down vote. In other words, no filibustering.

I think that Tim K has more... (Below threshold)
Skip:

I think that Tim K has more faith in Congress than I do.

Congress needs something li... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Congress needs something like Article 1, Section 7 for judicial nominees.

After, say, 30 days, if their is no action on a nominee in committee, then there should be a presumptive yes vote and the nominee automatically goes to the full Senate for a vote.

After 30 days before the full Senate, if their is still no action, then the nominee is presumptively confirmed.

That way, the people who are opposed to a nominee have just as much motivation for an up or down vote as those who support a nominee.

Sheik, I really, really, re... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Sheik, I really, really, really like that idea. I wish it would happen.

Yes, I too think a nominee deserves a guaranteed vote out of committee. ww

Why is it in a committee in... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Why is it in a committee in the first place?

Names are submitted to the Senate as a whole, not some select group of asshats that determine who will or will not see the light of day in the full Senate.

I revise my comment (#2) an... (Below threshold)
Tim K:

I revise my comment (#2) and agree with Gmac. No need for a vote in Committee. Hearings could be held there, if that is convenient, but the up or down vote should be in the full Senate.

Gmac,You are right... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Gmac,

You are right, of course.

However, the entire Senate would have a collective aneurysm if they couldn't use a committee for something.

With that said, I'll revise mine also.

They can have a flat 30 days (or some reasonable time limit) to act on a nominee. Failure to provide "advise and consent" will be presumptive consent.

If they want to use their 30 days in committee, that's up to them, but there still has to be a vote of the full Senate by the end of the 30 days.

Gmac,Could you see... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Gmac,

Could you see a nominee being interviewed/questioned/raked over the coals by all 100 members of the senate?

Everyone here who thinks ev... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Everyone here who thinks every nominee deserves and up or down vote might not be thinking about 2009 when we could potentially have a socialist president (say, Bill's wife) and a socialist dominated house and senate (as is currently the case).

When that happens you'll appreciates the minority party's ability to block judges, me thinks.

It's sad, but that's the way it is in a country like this where we have diametrically opposed political philosophies. On the one side we have those who believe in independence, freedom, liberty, free choice, and personal responsibility and on the other side we have the democrats.

one could make the argument... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

one could make the argument that not allowing a yes or no vote is essentially a no vote on the candidate.

The party in the minority for the moment will always argue for the minority rights so they cannot be run roughshod over like the democrats usually do to the republicans. The party in the majority will always say yes unless they are republicans then they will say we need a "new tone" and to "compromise".

Basically if the republicans would grow some backbone this would be a non-issue and they could deal with this in the same way democrats do. Threats to pork barrel projects unless they vote a certain way, or otherwise.

I don't like the way the democrats play the political game, but it's a reality and the democrats need to take a little bit of their own medicine. Things balance out in the end and the democrats will get theirs if the republicans grow a pair and start dishing it out.

I guess i got side tracked ... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

I guess i got side tracked and didn't really answer one way or the other. (i should be a politician!)

I don't see a problem with a simple yes or no vote as it is entirely fair.

Just wait for the howls of the "minority rights"!!!! remember the dems pre-2006....

The bigger question should ... (Below threshold)
bains:

The bigger question should include full Senate vote as well (but I understand why one can not ask a candidate such a direct and compact question).

Answer that would please me:

In effect, No and No; we have such spineless, or sound-biteful elected officials, paying off and/or earning political chits takes precedence over all else.

Constitutionally, Yes and Yes; if either body finds the nominee unworthy, they vote no.

Ideally, Yes and No; it is the job of the Judiciary Committee to ascertain the worth, and only the worth, of the nominee. It is up to the full Senate to ascertain whether or not they accept that worth, and find it acceptable for Federal Bench.

Bonus points for the candidate that says elections matter, and therefore filibusters on judicial nominees are inherently unconstitutional.

Oops, last one should have ... (Below threshold)
bains:

Oops, last one should have been reversed - No and Yes.




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