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Friday, May 20, 2005

Speaking hypothetically

Josh Marshall writes

it wouldn't seem a bad deal to me if the senate Democrats were to allow up or down votes on some or even most of the judges in question, if what they got in return was some ironclad guarantee that the Republicans would no longer try to break the rules and abolish the right to filibuster.

Now, how that guarantee could truly be ironclad? I have no idea. But I'm speaking in hypotheticals.

Josh Marshall is a very smart guy, so if he has no idea how something can be done, it is a major intellectual challenge. I have an idea -- public use video. The senate governs itself. Legally binding contracts can only be enforced by the Senate. This means the simple majority of senators and no judge will intervene if the majority of senators decide to lie about how ironcald their guarantee was mean to be (as 47 to 53 Republica Senators are prepared to lie about their view on the constitutionality of the filibuster of judicial nominees). I believe that there is, hwoever, a judge with power over these senators and I don't believe in God. I am thinking of television.

If the senators in question record a video in which they swear to protect defend and uphold the constitution *and* declare that this video is in the public domain and can be broadcast by anyone, anytime for any reason (even in an ad paid for by their future oponents) that will put the fear of TV in them.

Something along the line of each senator reciting on video "I acknowledge that the rules of the senate allow extended debat on all matters includingjudicial nominations and that the description of debate as deliberately dilatory or a filibuster is an expression of opinion with no relevance to the application of the rules of the senate. Debate can only be curtailed by a motion of cloture which requires 60 yes votes to pass. I acknowledge that the rules of the senate continue until they are changed by the vote of at least two thirds of senators. If I ever attempt to restrict the filibuster by any method other than a vote of cloture supported by at least 60 senators or a rule change supported by at least two thirds of the senate I shall demonstrate that I am no gentleman (woman) and that I do not deserve to be a snator. Such an action will demonstrate that I am a depraved liar with no honor or decency and that only a complete idiot would ever vote for me. I recognise that this video is in the public domain and may be broadcast by anyone at any time for any reason."

That would be an ironclad guarantee.

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