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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sheldon Whitehouse Steamrolls Republican Caucus - Jack McConnell Survives Cloture Vote

Sheldon Whitehouse has steamrolled over the Republican caucus, and his nominee for the Rhode Island federal District Court, John J. "Jack" McConnell, Jr., will get a floor vote which Democrats have the votes to win.

The final vote was 63-33 (with one "present").  By my count watching the vote, here are the Republicans who voted in favor of cloture (limiting debate):

S. Brown

After it was clear the Democrats had the votes, Republicans Chambliss and Isakson also voted for the cloture petition.

After the vote, Harry Reid said it will make "this will make the atmosphere around here so much more pleasant."

This is a bad vote for these Republican Senators. If they think that the courtesies will be reciprocated by the Democrats in the future, they are sorely mistaken.

(Added) Sheldon Whitehouse was not very gracious in his remarks after the vote.  He said (my paraphrase) that sometimes there are interest groups who try to control the Senate, but today is a day when the institution prevailed. 

Updates:  Senator Mitch McConnell's statement is a must read, in that he completely debunked the claim that there was no precedent for filibustering District Court nominees.  In fact, Senator McConnell rattled off a long list of District Court and higher court judicial filibusters by Democrats, ending with this:
“Mr. President [of the Senate], I agree that filibusters of judicial nominees should be used sparingly. Unfortunately, our friends on the other side of the aisle have filibustered judicial nominees whenever it suited their purposes to do so, whether it was to defeat nominees like Miguel Estrada, or to leverage other nominees like with the Stewart nomination. Given their persistent enthusiasm for the judicial filibuster, I do not view our Democratic friends as the arbiters of filibuster propriety.
On the floor vote at approximately 5:50 p.m. today, the vote was 50-44.  I'm pretty sure that all of the Republicans who voted for closture voted against the nomination, but I'm checking.

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  1. This is why the primary victory of Christine O'Donnell was so important. Why tolerate another disgusting RINO who always puts an upper bound on how conservative a policy or judicial nominee can be while aiding and abetting the Democrats in matters large and small? It is a warning to the Republican establishment and a necessary act of political hygiene to rid ourselves of officials that do not understand the role that they are expected by their base to play and what is and isn't tolerable. Sadly, McCain survived for another term, but there is no reason why Graham, Snowe, Collins and the usual suspects in the Senate ought to survive a Republican primary challenge in 2012 or 2014.

  2. Thanks for posting the names, Prof. Jacobson. It's always nice to know who you need to be sure and vote against. I'm with RDA--everyone of these RINOs should be primaried.

  3. @RDA

    My exact sentiments. I am used to being disgusted by Scott Browns hypocrisy.

  4. "This is why the primary victory of Christine O'Donnell was so important. Why tolerate another disgusting RINO who always puts an upper bound on how conservative a policy or judicial nominee can be while aiding and abetting the Democrats in matters large and small? "

    Because Christine lost badly a race Castle would have won in a walk? You do get that you turned a sometimes GOP vote into an almost never GOP vote, don't you? But by all means hand the Maine seats to the Dems for a generation. I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

  5. Good grief, doesn't ANYONE have a spine? I mean, if the freakin' Canadians are electing conservatives why can't we?

    Oh no, we're stuck with this core group of morons who have never met a principle they couldn't discard.

  6. Each time I promise myself I will not be surprised & disgusted and yet I experience the the revulsion all over again. It is so much worse when the traitor is in your midst. Does this mean Goodwin Liu is to be confirmed as well? Or perhaps he already has been. What an Obama of a legacy.

  7. So McCain voted with the Democrats. See, why vote for an artificial Democrat (McCain) when one can get a real Democrat (Obama)? Professor you are so spot on, these Republicans will never have this reciprocated. The Left doesn't roll that way. But then, the Republican Senate Caucus allowed Lisa Murkowski to keep her committee assignments after losing a Republican primary and running as an independent. These Republicans are in love with their power and their positions. Most of all, they are in love with themselves.

  8. Bill, I sent a note to Senator Thune yesterday after reading your post (and I admit I plagiarized; sorry!!) but guess it was to no avail. I just wish Republicans could be more monolithic in their opposition to democratic agendas. Guess we are doomed to mediocrity. Time for term limits so maybe these people won't be so focused on reelection but rather on doing what is right. Another Federal District Judge cut from the cloth of those in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Ugh.

  9. "Good grief, doesn't ANYONE have a spine? I mean, if the freakin' Canadians are electing conservatives why can't we?"

    Canadian conservatives != US conservatives. The name doesn't really mean anything.

  10. Well I've had it with our Senator "Hedley" Lamar Alexander. Can't say we weren't warned back in 2008 when he said: “I have said and will continue to say to the people of Tennessee that I hope you’ll send me back to Washington so I can change Washington by working on big issues which usually means working across party lines to get results. I get really disgusted when the congress degenerates into members who just seem like they’re here to poke each other’s eyes out for partisan reasons and I think the people of this country don’t like it.” He obviously has no stomach for the fight ahead. We're stuck with him until 2014. I am going to work very hard to see that he has a viable primary challenger.

  11. Is it insulting too many villages to call that mangy crew the "idiot eight"? They certainly don't have the courage of tin men, and we need some apt but suitable 'handle' for them while we work toward their enforced retirement.

  12. McCain? I really think he can best be a good American by resigning/retiring at this point.
    Thune- good thing he's not running, I'm no longer what side he's on. Even my dog runs out of the room when Sheldon Whitehouse is on TV.

    Scott Brown, like the others you noted, I send emails, but obviously the cash is already on the way. Are you sure you don't want to be a federal judge? Keep up the good work!

  13. Based on what I've read on this blog, this McConnell guy is an extreme partisan. How do those Republican senators justify to themselves and their Republican constituents not filibustering him? Technically, they're violating their oath to uphold the Constitution because they're simply rubber stamping the appointee. I can't imagine a potential appointee more suited for filibuster than one whose objectivity is likely to be blinded by his partisanship.

    As I said on the Althouse blog this morning, just be grateful McCain didn't win the presidency. With a huge Democratic majority in the House, and a filibuster proof Democratic Senate, is there any doubt that with Pelosi and Reid controlling the legislative agenda Mr. "Reach Across the Aisle and Compromise" McCain would have forced the Republicans to work with Pelosi and Reid on healthcare, cap & trade, immigration reform to get it all passed? And with bi-partisan support, there would be absolutely no chance to repeal it if we're lucky enough to take back the Senate and Presidency in 2012.

    In hindsight, the McCain loss in the 2008 presidential election was a huge blessing.