Thursday, May 26, 2005

Senate never filibustered Paez, in fact, they rejected the motion to indefinately postpone Paez.

Talkback Lancaster Online is an interesting place, I've got to tell you. Lee41 on there originally posed the question "Which party was the first to filibuster a judicial nominee?". Of course, we were discussing this in the context of the Senate.

He didn't care for my answer to much: Democrats against Miguel Estrada in 2003.

First, he jumped back to a 1968 "filibuster" of Abe Fortas. But the problem was that Democrats and Republicans "filibustered" him. And although Republicans might have led this "filibuster" (led by former Democrat Strom Thurmond, who changed parties in 1964), the "filibuster" would not have happened without Democrat support.

Abe Fortas was already an associate justice of the Supreme Court since 1965. This filibuster did not block Fortas from being on the court, but from becoming Chief Justice. Also, you will notice that I keep putting quotations around "filibuster". That's because it was a failed cloture, which may or may not be a filibuster. This is also true if you examine this document from the Senate website called Filibuster and Cloture in the Senate (pdf) or if you visit Harry Reid and People for the American Way Caught Misrepresenting CRS Report on Past Judicial Filibusters.

Despite these explanations, Lee41 insisted that Paez was filibustered by a partisan Senate filibuster. When I provided Lee41 this link from Senator Trent Lott's website showing him that the March 8, 2000 vote for cloture for Paez was to BRING and up or down vote (not block it), I think his head exploded.

I also explained that Paez was blocked (as described in the previous link) by Sessions and Smith with a tactic called "the hold", which is not considered a filibuster, but rather the prospect of a filibuster. I cited this article from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, which states that Paez was "on hold".

But rather than resort to a filibuster, the blocking tactic that has been employed by Senate Democrats against a handful of President Bush’s nominees, Sessions turned to a more secretive maneuver known as a "hold" that allows just one senator to stall a nomination. -quote

I followed by another statement from the Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate (pdf) .

In that document, it has a section titled "The Prospect of a Filibuster". Underneath is a subtitle called "Hold".

The first sentence states "However much effect filibusters have on the operations of the Senate, perhaps a more pervasive effect is attributable to filibusters that have not taken place—at least not yet."

Lee41 just wasn't happy with that. He insisted, still, there was a filibuster on Paez on March 9, 2000.

However, I pointed out in his own link of this "filibuster" that the vote result was "rejected motion to indefinitely postpone [Paez]".

In other words, they rejected filibustering Paez after the cloture vote on March 8, 2000. On March 9, 2000, Paez was confirmed by the Senate without any extended debate past the Senate Rules on cloture (30 hours permitted).

Democrats still hold the precedent for the first party to partisanly filibuster a judicial nominee, Miguel Estrada in 2003.

Republicans have never used it in a partisan fashion.

And with the exception of the bipartisan 1968 filibuster of Abe Fortas's nomination to be Chief Justice of the United States, the Senate has never blocked by filibuster a judicial nominee to any court.


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