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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 5, 2005 / 25 Adar II, 5765

Senate hypocrites cling to filibusters

By Jonathan Gurwitz


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As Senate Republicans ponder changes to rules that would permit them to overcome Democratic filibusters — the so-called "nuclear option" — they should remember their majority status is not permanent. They may occasionally want to avail themselves of procedural measures to deliberate bad policy and poorly considered nominations of a future Democratic majority.

And as Democrats persist in a strategy to oppose President Bush's second-term agenda and judicial nominations at all costs, including the corresponding threat to shut down the Senate, they should remember that public perception of obstructionism will extend their tenure in the minority.

At issue is a proposed change to Senate Rule XXII that would allow a simple majority of 51 to approve Bush's appeals court nominees. Under Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, the president has the power to make federal judicial appointments "by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate."

In practice, that has meant, with rare exception, that presidents have had the opportunity for their judicial appointments, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, to go to the Senate floor for a simple up or down vote. Forty-four Senate Democrats and one independent have, however, thwarted such a vote on 10 Bush appeals court nominations.

By using the filibuster, Democrats have effectively established a supermajority of 60 for Senate consent — the number of votes required to end a filibuster and force a floor vote.

Some of the current filibuster ringleaders have condemned this tactic in the past.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., currently the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, in 1998: "I have stated over and over again ... that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported." Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in 1995: "Senators who believe in fairness will not let a minority of the Senate deny (the nominee) his vote by the entire Senate."

But Leahy and Kennedy are far from being the most hypocritical Democrats with regard to the filibuster. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., recently gave a speech on the Senate floor in which he decried any attempt to abridge the Democratic filibuster with a rules change.

"We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men," Byrd intoned.

As Martin Gold and Dimple Gupta detail in the current issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the 87-year-old senator and former Klansman threatened or invoked changes to Senate procedural rules no less than four times from 1977 to 1987 as majority leader to quash Republican opposition.

In 1979, Byrd reveled in "the power and right of a majority of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate at the beginning of a new Congress."

Of course, if Byrd has a hard time remembering what he did and said in 1979, he surely won't remember his actions in 1964 to deny minority political rights by filibustering the Civil Rights Act.

Surely Senate Democrats can find a more respectable voice than that of Byrd to defend the legitimate uses of the filibuster. Certainly they remember the failed gambit of House Republicans in 1995 to shut down government because of budget disagreements with the Clinton White House.

A fine line separates principled opposition from unprincipled obstructionism. By threatening to close down the Senate to prevent a floor vote on Bush judicial nominees, Democrats have crossed well over that line.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.Comment by clicking here.

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