Thursday, May 19, 2005

NUCLEAR WATCH Assume the nuclear option succeeds: What's next for its supporters? It's a question Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) asked on the floor of the Senate today. And he's not the only one asking.

One step nuclear option suporters are sure to explore is extending the nuclear option to all presidential nominations.

Consider: The pro-nuclear position, right now, is that the filibuster is unconstitutional only when it comes to judicial nominees.

But that argument isn't just laughable--it's more or less incoherent.

Take a look at the relevant clause from the Constitution:

Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2: He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for.
So how, after reading this language, do you conclude that the filibuster is unconstitutional in the case of judicial nominees but constitutionally permissible when it comes to "Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls"?

I've yet to hear a Republican defense of that tortured bit of constitutional interpretation. But I'd love to see someone take a stab at it.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.