- Krispy Kreme coming to Cape Girardeau (12/14/17)2
- Light and music show: Jackson family goes high-tech with Christmas display (12/11/17)
- Two Cape County residents, including former Jackson police officer, face burglary charges in Colorado (12/12/17)
- Cape schools to get two new principals, assistant superintendent (12/13/17)1
- Kelso resident brings home $60K in lottery winnings (12/14/17)
- Pedestrian struck on Broadway (12/11/17)4
- Insurance building's renovation part of Coalter family's commitment to region (12/15/17)3
- Three-vehicle wreck ends up with parked car crashing through business wall (12/16/17)3
- Wind brings down Wendy's sign in Cape Girardeau (12/11/17)2
Change the rules
Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate each tried to use 30 hours of valuable time last week to grab the attention of next year's potential voters. The issue was labeled as a debate over the practice of filibustering -- or threatening to filibuster -- presidential nominees to the federal bench. The 30 hours sounded more like a never-ending political commercial for the political parties rather than an honest give and take over whether Senate rules need to be changed.
Currently, the rules require a super-majority of 60 votes to end a filibuster. In practice, this means that the fate of certain nominees hinges on a political litmus test rather than a straight up-or-down approval by a simple majority of 51 senators.
The rules have been used by both parties to steer the philosophical leanings of federal judges. In less than three years of the Bush administration, the Senate has confirmed 168 of the president's nominees, but Democrats are holding up four candidates whose views are deemed to be too conservative. Those 168 confirmations represent half the number of President Clinton's nominations that were approved in his entire eight-year presidency.
There is a simple solution: change the rules. By ending the 60-vote requirement for cloture, the constitutional advise-and-consent mandate would revert to a simple majority. But Republicans and Democrats are reluctant to give up the biggest hammer in the political toolbox for the minority party.
It's wrong that judicial nominees are used as political pawns. It's also wrong that the nation's 100 senators don't fix the rules to end the silliness.