Of all the howls of faux outrage from the right over the Senate Democrats invoking the “nuclear option” to eliminate filibusters for most presidential nominations, Rush Limbaugh’s reaction is the most vile and repulsive. Even for Limbaugh, this is incredibly low:
Let’s forget the Senate for a minute. Let’s say, let’s take 10 people in a room and they’re a group. And the room is made up of six men and four women. OK? The group has a rule that the men cannot rape the women. The group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes, of the 10, to change the rule. Every now and then, some lunatic in the group proposes to change the rule to allow women to be raped. But they never were able to get six votes for it. There were always the four women voting against it and they always found two guys. Well, the guy that kept proposing that women be raped finally got tired of it, and he was in the majority and he was one that [said], ‘You know what? We’re going to change the rule. Now all we need is five.” And well, ‘you can’t do that.’ ‘Yes we are. We’re the majority. We’re changing the rule.’ And then they vote. Can the women be raped? Well, all it would take then is half of the room. You can change the rule to say three. You can change the rule to say three people want it, it’s going to happen. There’s no rule. When the majority can change the rules there aren’t any.
Hey, whaddaya say we take a look at what Limbaugh was saying in 2004 when the Republicans wanted to eliminate the filibuster and the Democrats didn’t. He put up an entire page of “bullet points” spelling out the position he held then:
The so-called “nuclear option” — which should be called the Constitutional option — would end the use of the filibuster for judicial nominations. The Democrats are warning that if the Republicans change the filibuster rule, then all hell will break loose. I cannot think of anything worse than what they’ve done, and will continue to do — which is prevent the president from appointing judges to the federal court.
The Senate rules have never been used to block presidential judicial appointments. By threatening to use the filibuster, or actually invoking it, the Senate Democrats are requiring that a super-majority of 60 senators must, in essence, confirm a judge. There are 7 instances in which the Constitution provides for super-majority votes — convictions related to impeachment, adoption of treaties, expelling members, overriding vetoes, amending the Constitution, 14th Amendment, and 25th Amendment.
The Senate has, under the Constitution, an “advice and consent” role. But it cannot use that role to impose a super-majority requirement on the president’s nomination function or on the rest of the Senate. After all, all senators have a right, under the Constitution, to provide their advice and consent, which means the right to a simple majority vote on the Senate floor.
At no time in over 200 years, until the prior Senate, did senators contend that the filibuster could be used against judicial nominees. The point is that is was understood that the Constitution did not grant 41 senators the power to thwart the president’s judicial appointment power. The way we conservatives read the Constitution is to try to determine what the words mean, what the framers intended — we don’t assign broad meanings to words or look for loopholes.
One last point – if the Senate, which has the constitutional right to make its own rules, decides that it wants to require a super-majority vote to pass certain bills, such as tax bills, that’s perfectly fine. Such a rule would NOT infringe on a presidential power. But to do so when it affects a presidential power, such as the appointment of judges, that would be unconstitutional.
When Bush was in office, eliminating the filibuster was necessary to preserve the constitution. When Obama is in office, it’s rape. To be fair, though, Bush was white. Don’t worry, Rush; if it’s a legitimate rape, the body politic has the ability to shut down.
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