Scarlet O’Hara was famous for saying, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” That, in essence, is what the Senate moderates decided to do.
“John McCain–a great American, a lousy senator, and a terrible Republican–took himself out of serious contention in the GOP primaries of 2008. The McCain Caucus showed itself last night, and is united not by ’moderation’ but by enormous, towering ego.”
Possibly the best that can be said is that The Deal includes a tacit admission of guilt:
“The agreement,” notes Republican Senator John Cornyn from Texas, “guarantees up-or-down votes to Justice Priscilla Owen, Justice Janice Rogers Brown, and Judge William Pryor — three well-qualified nominees who were once deplored as extreme and dangerous (as late as yesterday afternoon). The agreement is thus an effective admission of guilt — an admission that these fine nominees should never have been filibustered in the first place. Moreover, by forbidding future filibusters of judicial nominations except under ’extraordinary circumstances,’ the agreement establishes a new benchmark for future conduct in the United States Senate — namely, that other qualified judges who are firmly committed to the law, like Owen, Brown, and Pryor, deserve an up-or-down vote, too.’
The worst aspect of the deal is that the signatories have tried to rewrite the Constitution to drastically enlarge the Senate’s “advice and consent” role in nominations to include being consulted before nominations are made.
“We believe that, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word ’Advice’ speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President’s power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.
“Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.”
This is a misreading of history and would drastically reduce a president’s ability to get strong candidates who onto the federal bench. In the current climate, it would allow the minority party to have more say than the voters allotted to it in November.