Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Mitch McConnell Should Heed His Own Advice

Senator Mitch McConnell is out with an anti-Liu screed "Why the Senate should reject Goodwin Liu. It decries the "leftward drift" of the nation, which is ironic because confirming the center-left jurist to the 9th circuit would actually make it more conservative on average. Of course, McConnell is ignoring the fact that the Republican caucus won't allow the Senate to reject Goodwin Liu; they're holding his nomination in limbo by filibustering the law professor.

There's certainly an argument that filibustering of judicial appointments is unconstitutional. The judicial nomination process is the only process in which all three branches of government are necessarily involved. The stranglehold of 40 senators over the other two branches' structural right to operate seems like an imbalance not intended by the framers. Whereas most inter-branch controversies are not amenable to suits, Goodwin Liu might actually have standing against the Senators holding his nomination (or conspiring to hold it), who are irreparably damaging his career prospects.

Also, the most curious line from McConnell's op-ed in the Hill:
Another part [of Obama's agenda] was making sure government calls the shots over private industry and elections
Because if there's one aspect of public or private life in which the government has no business, it's in ensuring free and fair elections. Damn democrats and democracy.

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