GOP Still Not Telling Truth on Judicial Filibusters
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Jun 26, 2009 at 04:07:42 AM EDT
I am always surprised (though perhaps I shouldn't be) at the establishment media's willingness to allow the Republicans to cast themselves as martyrs in the larger judicial confirmation battles, pinning the blame for any and all acrimony in the process on the Democrats. In The New York Times today there is yet another story along these lines, the basic premise of which is that conservatives are itching for a fight over Sonia Sotomayor because the Democrats showed an improper lack of reverence for Robert Bork, among others.
While The Times does manage to slip in one paragraph -- the fifteenth! -- to provide context for the story by way of reminding readers that the GOP shut down the judicial nomination process during the final six years of the administration of Bill Clinton, effectively blocking most of the President's choices for the bench, the general thrust of the piece appears to be that it's all the Democrats' fault.
But I have said it before and I'll say it again: The Republicans began this fight with the unprecedented filibuster of Abe Fortas, the sitting Associate Justice of the Supreme Court nominated by Lyndon Johnson to serve as the Chief Justice of the panel. This isn't to say that the Democrats' hands are clean in the process, because both sides have played hardball on confirmations in recent decades. Yet to suggest, as Republicans do and The Times appears willing to pass on without much context, that it's all the Democrats' fault is simply preposterous, and editors should know better than to pass on this drivel.