Friday, July 02, 2010

Should the GOP Filibuster Elena Kagan?

Given the fact that most Americans think Presidents should be given latitude in SCOTUS selections and that most Americans expect SCOTUS nominees to come from the same ideological stripes as the President, I would think that Republicans with half a brain and any sense of pragmatism would squash talk of a filibuster as soon as it reared its head. First, there's absolutely no smoking gun in Kagan's record or in her testimony that would warrant a filibuster. Second, given this, if Kagan were filibustered, the costs of filibustering the next selection (and any subsequent selections) would go up incrementally (has there ever been a successful follow-up filibuster to a first round filibuster success?) and the perception of obstructionism would increase accordingly. Kagan is left-of-center, but she's probably the best left-of-center option conservatives could hope for. In fact, I've come to think of Kagan as a less-than-ideal liberal nominee. So, If she were filibustered now, Obama would likely nominate an even more liberal candidate (making me happier) and then dare the GOP to filibuster a second time. And if they did it again, Obama would likely nominate a third candidate even more liberal than the second, dare the GOP to filibuster again, and start the rounds complaining of GOP obstructionism and a lack of deference to Presidential prerogative in SCOTUS nominations. In short, I think a filibuster of Kagan would only likely make it worse for conservatives, not better.

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