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February 15, 2009

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//federal judges are ... policy makers//

Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and dumping the filibuster which USED TO BE a formidable weapon to oppose very bad legislation, why not return the process to its previous "RARELY USED" status and FORCE THE FUCKING REPUBLICANS ACTUALLY TO FILIBUSTER?

Saying you're gonna and actually doing it are two different things altogether, and the obstructionist GOP would quickly learn why the filibuster is rarely used. Bring in the cots and their lunches!

Senator Dirkson read the entire novel Gone with the Wind into the congressional record during a filibuster.

Let's face it if the GOP actually had to filibuster for real instead of these pretend ones, they would quickly lose interest in the process.

SO NO VEHEMENTLY disagree...don't kill it, FIX it.

Someone not only needs to get a clue, but also needs to read both the posting rules, and the article Hilzoy wrote yesterday giving the very good reason why filibusters don't end up with the rebels holding the floor and talking rndlessly. e

Really? I always figured that nominations were the one area where the filibuster was improper, because while Congress has no obligation to pass any legislation, they ARE supposed to be giving their advice and consent to nominations.

And refusing to vote does not execute that constitutional duty.

That said, I've long thought filibusters should be more difficult, primarily because the current fake 'filibuster' doesn't do anything to bring the Senate to a halt, they just go on with other business, and you lose most of the benefit of a filibuster, the collateral benefit, rather than damage.

I have advocated a change on nominations for 'for life' positions repeatedly*:
1. Consent for a 'for life' position = 2/3 plus 1 votes (67 or 68 votes at the current senate size)
2. Any candidate failing that but receiving 50% +1 vote is approved for a temporary position only
3. 'Temporaries' can be 'upgraded' with another vote that reaches the necessary 2/3 +1
4. There is a mandatory cooling off period between (re)nominations
5. 'Temporaries' can be removed by a vote topping their approval vote (e.g. if a candidate gains 56 approval votes, he can be removed with 57)
6. (SCOTUS only) Decisions hinging on the votes of temporaries are not precedent setting unless later affirmed by majority of 'life-longers'

*Although I am generally against 'for life' positions. I prefer a mandatory retirement age and a anti-revolving-door statute with actual teeth.

What Hartmut said. We should require a 2/3 majority for lifetime appointments.

The Senate is not required to "advise and consent", rather its "advice and consent" is required to approve any nomination. Obviously, if it continued to refuse to advise and consent to a series of nominations for the court, then you have a political issue for the people to decide if they think the Senate is being obstructive to good Prez nominations, or protective against bad Prez nominations. All of the players will no doubt have those political considerations in mind as they make their decisions. Part of what plays into all of this is the equal state representation rule. Senators from 25 states with much less than 1/2 of the population, plus a VP, can advise and consent to a lifetime appointment and this is, I think, troubling. OTOH, Senators from the least populous 21 states can prevent a nomination from being confirmed. I think the idea of waiting until the next Congress to change the rule is a good one and I think it would help if Reid actually required the GOP to filibuster rather than have these unanimous consents to a 60 vote requirement for legislation. I still suspect that there would hardly ever be a filibuster, especaially a partisan filibuster, if there actually had to be a real filibuster. I think it would be good to know if this is true or not before changing the rule.

I strongly agree with the historical perspective Gary brought to the prior filibuster thread, especially here. The structure of the US Govt and especially the Senate are small-c conservative (in the sense of being biased in favor of gridlock rather than hasty and ill-considered action) by design not by accident. There are very sound political reasons for allowing Senatorial tradition to require supermajorities in cases of controversy. The US is an extremely diverse country ethnically, linguistically and culturally. You need strong bonds to hold together a polity like that - we are lucky to have experienced only a single overt and explicit civil war in our 200+ year history, given the potential for violent conflict over irreconcilable issues that is latent in the patchwork demographic and cultural fabric of this nation.

Since the Republic has survived thus far without making dramatic changes to the filibuster, I see little reason to do so now. Are the Republicans being obnoxious and obstructive in their excessive use of the filibuster? Heck yes, IMHO. But the best solution to this problem is political rather than structural. Make the GOP pay a price in popularity for being obstructionist - the Dems haven't tried nearly hard enough to educate the public as to how the filibuster was used in the last Congress and what a dramatic break that made with prior tradition and history in the Senate. Where are the TV ads, where are the bar charts, and Democrats on TV denouncing this arrogation of power by the minority power? I certainly haven't seen any. Do that first, and then come back and complain about structure after making the political effort to break the 60-vote logjam, not before. This is a teachable moment - let's use it.

I understand that filibustering is difficult on the non-filibustering side. But so far as I can tell the last serious long lasting filibuster took place before widespread internet punditry, before YouTube, and really even before widespread cable TV mockery political shows. The Republicans didn't' make Democrats do it in the early 2000s and the Democrats aren't making the Republicans do it now.

How many Senators are really going to be willing to repeatedly brave the TV commericals/YouTube clips/Daily Show mockery over non-important issues? The current non-filibuster filibuster practices are leftovers from the weird Daschle/Lott era.

I'm saying the same thing to Democrats now that I said to Republicans in the early 2000s. Bite the bullet, quit your whining, take 3 or 4 days to do what we pay you to do, and break this casual filibuster garbage.

Seb @12:33pm

Ditto that.

Sometimes I think I'm the only person who loves having the Filibuster around. I'm more worried about the "Tyranny of the Majority" than I am about the frustration of an obstructionist minority. Don't mess with something just because it's annoying. It's *meant* to be annoying. and it serves a damn good purpose.

How many Senators are really going to be willing to repeatedly brave the TV commericals/YouTube clips/Daily Show mockery over non-important issues?

I'm inclined to agree but I'm a lot less confident. I'd be mortified about reading from the phonebook in the Senate these days, but then again, I'd be beyond mortified at the thought of making Sarah Palin my VP pick. Clearly my sense of mortification has little predictive value when it comes to GOP Senators. With respect, I'm not sure your sense is any better.

In practice, if youtube and the Daily Show are only threats to the extent that Senators care about them. But many Senators are clueless and many Senators can easily win reelection in 4 years no matter how much the Daily Show makes fun of them today. The flipside of youtube is that it is so ephemeral; no one will remember or care about it in 5 years.

Besides, a fillibuster doesn't have to be utterly humiliating. Senators could take to reading constituent letters or academic papers or history books. That sort of thing just isn't as funny as pointless phone book reading....

"I'm inclined to agree but I'm a lot less confident. I'd be mortified about reading from the phonebook in the Senate these days, but then again, I'd be beyond mortified at the thought of making Sarah Palin my VP pick. Clearly my sense of mortification has little predictive value when it comes to GOP Senators. With respect, I'm not sure your sense is any better."

Maybe so, but what is the cost of testing it out? 2-3 days of annoyance by Senators? If I'm wrong, the cost was pretty low. Congressman put enormous burdens on people all the time on the basis of untested theoretical ideas. The potential cost is very low. The potential benefit is very high. Why in the world not try it?

I don't think the filibuster should go away, as I think it's an important safeguard against the tyranny of the majority. With that said, I see no reason to continue the ridiculous practice of allowing a filibuster to prevent a vote simply by declaring your intention to filibuster.

If we actually had two parties composed of rational adults, or even a 2/3 majority of grownups, I would be inclined to leave it as is. It's worked for 200 years now. The problem is that allowing a simple declaration of intent to count as a filibuster only works if all parties involved are operating in good faith.

The GOP has demonstrated exhaustively that they are not working with us in good faith and have no intention of doing so. It's like the honor system at the office where you drop a quarter in a jar every time you take a piece of candy or cup of coffee: if your coworkers are decent adults, this works great. If one or more of your coworkers are selfish douchebags who think the rules don't apply to them, the kitty's going be short every week.

Douchebags don't get to use the honor system, and the congressional Republicans have made it clear that they are epic douchebags who can't be trusted to play by the rules. It's long past time to make them buy their own coffee and use it to stay awake while they filibuster.

With the filibuster gone, the minority party could much more easily undo the “damage.” In other words, ending the filibuster removes a lot of the reasons why you actually need it in the first place.

That's not a bad thing. Laws, particularly sweeping federal laws, need to be fairly static for a society to function.

Imagine if they legalized pot tomorrow. Then 4 years from now, re-illegalize it. Then 4 years after that, legalize it again. Who would tolerate that? Imagine clean air and water standards undergoing massive fluctuation between administrations. Imagine Lily Ledbetter getting repealed and reenacted with every change-over of majorities. Imagine the impact this would have on court opinions and legal precedent. It would be a nightmare.

The federal government was designed to be slow and ponderous. The founders didn't want a rule by capricious masses or fickle dictators. One reason power was originally focused on the hundreds of legislative Congressmen and not the singular executive President was to prevent rules from quickly being overturned and liberties immediately being stripped.

I love the filibuster, even when the GOP uses it against us. That gives the Dems that much more reason to work towards a more impressive majority and avoid the urge to govern with 50% + 1. And it makes sweeping change more a mandate from the people.

Republican obstructionism won't be forgotten or forgiven in the long run. Specter and Collins and whatserface know that. We aren't totally paralyzed.

The House is still free to get as liberal as it wants. The Senate can remain as a more moderate anchor on policy. I like the current system.

"Senators could take to reading constituent letters"

Including constituent letters complaining about the legislation being filibustered. I realize there's this standing assumption here that frustrating the aims of the Democratic party is just naturally somehow going to offend most voters, but that's nonsense. It will frequently be the case that frustrating the aims of the Democratic party will endear a Republican Senator to his constitutents. You're not always on the side of the angels as far as the public is concerned.

I realize there's this standing assumption here that frustrating the aims of the Democratic party is just naturally somehow going to offend most voters, but that's nonsense.

I wonder where someone would get that idea.

It will frequently be the case that frustrating the aims of the Democratic party will endear a Republican Senator to his constitutents. You're not always on the side of the angels as far as the public is concerned.

Not been paying much attention to public opinion lately, Brett?

Can someone point me to support for the claim (made by Kevin Drum and others) that there was a "golden age" of filibustering wherein the opposition party paid a price (in sleep, at least) for its obstructionism? What was the rules and/or structural change that caused the "filibuster" to fall from its former glory?

It seems that's item No. 1 in the argument that the filibuster has fallen from grace. But when was the golden age of filibusters? What rule was changed?

By the way, the fact that the number of filibusters has increased does not suggest a new supermajority rule for getting things passed in the Senate. It may just as easily show that deals that had previously been made behind closed doors are now spilling, more and more, out into the open. (Judges, for instance, come immediately to mind.) Unless one can somehow

Indeed, a broad view of the historical data (here: http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/cloture_motions/clotureCounts.htm) suggests something interesting. First, the number of filibusters has steadily increased. Second, the number of filibusters seems to be at its greatest when the party that controls the Senate is different from the party that controls the Presidency. (The absolute largest number of filibusters was in 2007-2008, when you had a mostly-D senate and President George Bush.)

Point 2 seems counterintuitive ..... unless, that is, one views the filibuster as a check on presidential power in addition to a majority veto. A president holds considerable power via his veto to push his agenda through the Congress. He has a bully pulpit as well. These are powerful tools to use against opposition in the Senate, even where the opposing party has a larger number of seats. A filibuster is a way to balance the President's power as much as it is a counterweight for the majority of the Senate.

Finally, a filibuster is, in some ways, a tool to ensure bipartisanship. I realize that it has been common to presume that your opponents are evil, and knowingly so, and thus bipartisanship means "you agree with me." But that's not, actually, the definition of bipartisanship. Bipartisanship means that both parties have influence in shaping the legislation. A filibuster, for better or worse, does that.

In any event, I haven't read here anything that the Republicans didn't argue pre-Gang of 14. The Republicans didn't persuade me at that time, and the same talking points don't become more persuasive when they are repeated by Democrats.

In any event, I haven't read here anything that the Republicans didn't argue pre-Gang of 14. The Republicans didn't persuade me at that time, and the same talking points don't become more persuasive when they are repeated by Democrats.

Truly? I realize you may have been referring to the post and not necessarily to the comments in general, but I'd be interested in what you find objectionable about this:

I don't think the filibuster should go away, as I think it's an important safeguard against the tyranny of the majority. With that said, I see no reason to continue the ridiculous practice of allowing a filibuster to prevent a vote simply by declaring your intention to filibuster.

If we actually had two parties composed of rational adults, or even a 2/3 majority of grownups, I would be inclined to leave it as is. It's worked for 200 years now. The problem is that allowing a simple declaration of intent to count as a filibuster only works if all parties involved are operating in good faith.

Can we at least agree that having the minority party abuse the intent-to-filibuster to the point that they effectively impose a 60-vote hurdle on nearly all legislation that should require a majority vote is not a desirable outcome?

I'm not concerned with whether the increase in filibusters is due to Republican abuse of the privilege, increased visibility into the sausage-making process, or some combination of both. I'm concerned, irrespective of tradition or history, that right now the use of the filibuster to block legislation without requiring an actual filibuster is effectively subverting the Constitution. And I'm happy to live with the requirement of actually filibustering regardless of who's in power.

unless, that is, one views the filibuster as a check on presidential power in addition to a majority veto. A president holds considerable power via his veto to push his agenda through the Congress. He has a bully pulpit as well. These are powerful tools to use against opposition in the Senate, even where the opposing party has a larger number of seats. A filibuster is a way to balance the President's power as much as it is a counterweight for the majority of the Senate

First of all, this doesn't make sense to me. A Senate minority using a filibuster to prevent bills from going to a President of an opposing party might make sense as a check on Presidential power, but that's not what happened in 2007-2008. In 2007-2008 A Senate minority used a filibuster to prevent bills from going to a President from their own party. I don't see how that is a check on the veto power.

Second, I don't see the pattern you describe in the data. During the last period where one party gained control of the Senate while another party controlled the Presidency, the number of filibusters stayed about the same and then slightly declined.

"I realize there's this standing assumption here that frustrating the aims of the Democratic party is just naturally somehow going to offend most voters, but that's nonsense."

No, not "naturally," but because of the whole "winning the majority of votes" thing, and the fact that Democratic legislators, wishing to be re-elected, don't often, in fact, vote for things that are generally unpopular.

"It will frequently be the case that frustrating the aims of the Democratic party will endear a Republican Senator to his constitutents. You're not always on the side of the angels as far as the public is concerned."

You know, you can't get logically get to the second sentence there from the first sentence when you switch terms. ("Republican... constituents" =/ "public.")

First of all, this doesn't make sense to me. A Senate minority using a filibuster to prevent bills from going to a President of an opposing party might make sense as a check on Presidential power, but that's not what happened in 2007-2008. In 2007-2008 A Senate minority used a filibuster to prevent bills from going to a President from their own party. I don't see how that is a check on the veto power.

That's a very good point. For some reason I had thought the the number of filibusters in 2007-2008 was tied to appointments, but Wikipedia agrees with you that I'm wrong. May my counterintuitive idea is counterintuitive for a reason, i.e., it's wrong.

"Can someone point me to support for the claim (made by Kevin Drum and others) that there was a 'golden age' of filibustering wherein the opposition party paid a price (in sleep, at least) for its obstructionism?"

Von, could you perhaps first post a link to such a claim? I haven't seen this, and I certainly can't support or refute or comment on a claim I haven't read. Thanks.

"By the way, the fact that the number of filibusters has increased does not suggest a new supermajority rule for getting things passed in the Senate. It may just as easily show that deals that had previously been made behind closed doors are now spilling, more and more, out into the open."

a) I don't understand how, if your second sentence was stipulated to, it would refute the claim that there's a new supermajority rule in effect. All you'd be doing is supplying a reason such a change has been effected.

b) Or we could suggest a hundred other explanations, but absent some supporting evidence, why bother considering any of them?

"Indeed, a broad view of the historical data"

A breakdown of which party actually invoked cloture would seem to be relevant and informative. A breakdown which leaves that out seems distinctly less helpful to understanding which party has made the threat of a filibuster so much greater.

As it happens, the chart you link to has links to the specifics of each session's votes on cloture, and they're highly informative. Take the 110th Congress, from January 4, 2007 through December 12, 2008, 139 cloture motions. Observe who filed for cloture, to end the filibuster. In all but a handful of cases, the names are "Reid" and "Whitehouse." Out of 139 motions for cloture, I count 129 by Democrats, and 10 by Republicans.

So your implication that the filibuster has risen just abstractly, or primarily by Democrats, turns out to be flatly wrong.

von: I would never describe earlier periods as a "golden age" of filibustering, since the filibuster was mostly used to thwart civil rights laws. That said: according to this CQ article, the "modern" filibuster (after 1917, when it took only one Senator to filibuster, gack), cloture votes were based on those present and voting except for the years 1949-1959 and 1975-present. For the reasons I tried to explain in my post, this would mean that the filibustering side would have to have all (or most of) its people present throughout.

Bravo hilzoy for clarifying the history.

Yes, by all means let's go back to the rule requiring the cloture vote supermajority to be those present and voting, not a percentage of the total.

AND by all means, lets require the filibusterers ACTUALLY TO DO IT.

This has not happened in the age of CSPAN, so no-one has actually SEEN IT HAPPEN who wasn't a senator, staffer, or in the gallery at the time.

Newt and his gang used CSPAN to great effect in their "special orders" sessions which had exactly zero legal impact but mattered greatly politically, at least for a while.

Lets see what happens when the public has full access to watching some GOP senator or other reading the phone book or something just to hold the floor.

"AND by all means, lets require the filibusterers ACTUALLY TO DO IT."

I don't understand why various people keep repeating variants of this without explaining how to get around the problem Hilzoy outlined. As Brandt Goldstein explained, making the other side filibuster is far more of a problem for one's own side: how is this a good idea?

[...] While a filibuster would seem to be more taxing on the side doing the talking, that isn't necessarily the case. The filibusterers need only one person in the Senate chamber at any one time, prattling away. The other side must make sure a quorum—a majority of all senators—is on hand, a constitutional requirement for the Senate to conduct business. If there's no quorum after a senator has demanded a quorum call, the Senate must adjourn, giving those leading the filibuster time to go home, sleep, and delay things even more. To ensure a quorum during the rancorous civil rights filibusters, cots were set up in Senate anterooms, and majority senators presented themselves in bathrobes during early-morning quorum calls.

Those seeking a quorum can even demand that the Senate's sergeant at arms arrest senators who aren't present and drag them into the Senate chamber, a measure that has led to absent senators playing hide-and-seek with police officers around Capitol Hill.

This is what needs to be changed.

What's needed is for these rules to be changed, rather than to just repeat over and over and over that we should make the other side filibuster while this problem exists.

"I don't understand why various people keep repeating variants of this without explaining how to get around the problem Hilzoy outlined. As Brandt Goldstein explained, making the other side filibuster is far more of a problem for one's own side: how is this a good idea?"

I don't think you are responding to the responses. The majority side (I said it when it was the Republicans and it is just as true now) needs to buckle down and be willing to make the other side look like fools for 2 or 3 days to end the casual use of the filibuster. That hasn't been tried in the new information era, and it should be.

My point here is that sometimes Republicans are going to filibuster popular things, but sometimes, the things they're going to filibuster will be wildly unpopular, and publicizing their filibuster in those latter cases is not going to help you one bit.

If you really think that last November's election was about the public endorsing every last bit of your agenda, your fall will be spectacular.

von: I would never describe earlier periods as a "golden age" of filibustering, since the filibuster was mostly used to thwart civil rights laws. That said: according to this CQ article, the "modern" filibuster (after 1917, when it took only one Senator to filibuster, gack), cloture votes were based on those present and voting except for the years 1949-1959 and 1975-present. For the reasons I tried to explain in my post, this would mean that the filibustering side would have to have all (or most of) its people present throughout.

I get that, Hilzoy. For the reasons that I explained in my initial post, however, the fact that there were not many filibusters back then does not mean that legislation routinely passed without a supermajority in the Senate. It could simply be that the Senate was "clubbier" back then, and a lot of the fights that are more out in the open today used to occur behind closed doors.

Again, the argument seems to be that there used to be a time when filibustering worked, and we should go back to that time. If I read your most recent comment correctly, you're arguing that the periods prior to 1948 and from 1960 to 1974 were those times because cloture votes were based on those present and voting. (These periods would be the so-called-by-me "Golden Age" of filibustering that we should aspire to return to.)

It's not clear to me whether the rule you identify, however, is really the importnat rule (or most important rule) for decreasing the number of filibusters. The annual number of filibusters started its radical increase in 1997-72, when there were 23 filibusters. That was during the "Golden Era." Between 1919 and 1972, the highest number of filibusters was 7 (once in 1925-26 and again in 1969-70). The period from 1948 through 1960, when your supposition would hold that there should an explosion of filibusters, actually contained relatively few filibusters. (Starting with the 1949-50 session and continuing through the 1959-60 session, the filibuster counts were 2, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1.)

I'm not saying that your proposed rule change wouldn't have an impact. Maybe it would. But it seems an error to argue that we can be confident of its imapct because of the historical data. The data just doesn't show that, at least as I read it.

By the way, regarding this .....

I would never describe earlier periods as a "golden age" of filibustering, since the filibuster was mostly used to thwart civil rights laws.

Isn't the point that those who thwarted civil rights laws via the filibuster had to actually filibuster and incur some cost? The filibuster is a process tool. Thus, it seems to be an argument in favor of a "golden age" of filibustering if those who used the filibuster for nefarious or evil ends were forced to pay a price.

I don't know that it's necessarily dangerous, given the mitigating influence of the appeals process and the large size of the Supreme Court, to effectively prevent anyone with a radical judicial philosophy from getting to the Federal bench. I guess the Supreme Court would be a little busier if judges in the lower courts unduly bucked precedent. There are other effects I could speculate on as well, but they seem pretty minor compared with the benefit of greater intellectual diversity in the judiciary.

I wouldn't be happy with many judges seated by Bush if there were a 50-vote threshold in the Senate, but I'd be happy to know that membership in the ACLU or the Federalist Society is no longer grounds for opposition. Anything that puts us past the absurdity of having to nominate the youngest possible candidates who've led the lives of boy scouts and haven't taken a public stand on anything is fine by me.

An alternative might be to remove the supermajority requirement for nomination but add the capacity for a supermajority to remove someone from the bench at any future date (without the current criminal requirements of impeachment). That wouldn't happen because it requires amending the constitution, though.

Somehow I posted this comment to the California thread by accident earlier.

"The period from 1948 through 1960, when your supposition would hold that there should an explosion of filibusters, actually contained relatively few filibusters."

You consistently write as if party were irrelevant to this, Von. The fact is that from 1948 to 1960, the Democrats were the majority in the Senate.

The reason that there were more cloture motions in the 92nd Congress is that racial issues, the draft, and Nixon's nomination of Rehnquist blew them up, as well as 4 votes on the Lockheed loan guarantees, and 4 votes on amending cloture itself.

Actually looking at the substance is relevant; you keep writing as if somehow cloture votes without reason, purely as a matter of process, without regard to party or substance. This isn't helpful, though it does steer the conversation away from looking at the respective positions of both parties.

Gary, I'm not writing as though party or circumstance is irrelevant (you mention both). Hilzoy identified a change in the rules as relevant to this issue. I'm addressing Hilzoy's argument that a revision to this rule is likely to have an impact on the number of filibusters that we see. Maybe it will, maybe it won't ... and maybe it won't precise because of the issues you identify. (I'm not agreeing with you, mind you, only pointing out that your criticism towards me seems misdirected.)

"Maybe it will, maybe it won't ... and maybe it won't precise because of the issues you identify."

Ok. It seems to me as if all three factors are relevant, myself.

So again, is there some reason why we shouldn't ask Democrats to spend 3 or 4 days out of their working year to force the first real filibuster in the internet/information age to see if they can stop the silliness? I understand that if that doesn't break it, and you have to keep the whole world present all the time it would be a big pain. But we aren't actually there yet. Why not try it first? What exactly is the downside other than actually making Senators sort-of work for three or so days?

"So again, is there some reason why we shouldn't ask Democrats to spend 3 or 4 days out of their working year to force the first real filibuster in the internet/information age to see if they can stop the silliness?"

Who are you arguing with, Sebastian?

I think I'm arguing with people who write:

"Actually, I think that simply requiring a real filibuster would go a long way towards solving the problem."

This entire comment seems 100% unresponsive to Hilzoy's post. You address exactly 0% of her points regarding why your proposal isn't a solution.

Which is strictly true for *the person* you addressing, but strictly untrue for *the proposal* he was suggesting. I and other people have outlined reasons addressing her points about why the difficulty on the majority party shouldn't be used as a reason to not force the minority party to actually filibuster at least once in the new media age.

So it is odd that you chose to attack him in that way, considering that the proposals had already been discussed--though ignored by you.

"An alternative might be to remove the supermajority requirement for nomination but add the capacity for a supermajority to remove someone from the bench at any future date (without the current criminal requirements of impeachment). That wouldn't happen because it requires amending the constitution, though.

But the impeachment process doesn't have any criminal requirements for judges. It merely says they remain in office during "good behavior". I suppose it's natural that lawyers would interpret "good behavior" purely in terms of whether or not you can be proven to have comitted a crime, but that just goes to show that lawyers are a bit warped in some respects.

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