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Saturday, May 28, 2005
  Smited by the hand of Charles Krauthammer:
Charles Krauthammer: The flinch heard 'round the world: "WASHINGTON -- On Monday, Republicans were within hours of passing a procedural rule that would have eliminated the Democrats' unprecedented use of the judicial filibuster. It would not only have freed from filibuster limbo seven Bush nominees to the circuit courts, but it would have assured future nominees, particularly to the Supreme Court, an up-or-down vote.

Then the Republicans flinched. They settled for something less. Far less. How much less is still a matter of dispute, but the fact that they settled when they had within their reach the means to restore Senate practice to the status quo ante 2001 is indisputable. That in itself is a victory for the Democrats and a defeat for the Republicans.

The Missouri Compromise of 2005, like its predecessor, has left a few things uncertain (including the fate of two long-languishing nominees, Henry Saad and William Myers), but two things are quite certain.

First, the compromise legitimized the principle of the judicial filibuster. Until 2001, not once in more than 200 years had a judicial nominee been denied appointment to the court by Senate filibuster.

The Democrats broke all precedent by systematically using it to block Bush nominees in his first term in the hope that they would recapture the presidency in 2004. They did not, and have continued the filibuster into his second term. This violation of Senate tradition has now been codified in writing as legitimate so long as circumstances (``extraordinary,'' in the eyes of the beholder) warrant"
 
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