The Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the appointment of Goodwin Liu to a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
It’s not the specific appointment that is interesting, although Mr. Liu would be the first Asian-American appointed to a court that serves a large population of Asian-Americans. But it does point out — yet again — that the Republicans are the masters of situational ethics: they’re staunchly against filibustering judicial nominees unless they have been appointed by a Democrat. Via Think Progress:
Just six short years ago, Republicans sang a very different tune when it came to judicial filibusters. Senate Republicans almost unanimously declared filibusters of judicial nominees to be a horrific betrayal of their constitutional role. Many Republicans outright declared judicial filibusters to be unconstitutional. Here is a representative sample of how current GOP senators felt about such filibusters when a Republican was in the White House:
Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “I would never filibuster any President’s judicial nominee, period. I might vote against them, but I will always see they came to a vote.”
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution requires it.”
Tom Coburn (R-OK): “If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent. That means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee. And that happened for 200 years.”
John Cornyn (R-TX): “We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his judicial nominations.
Mike Crapo (R-ID): “Until this Congress, not one of the President’s nominees has been successfully filibustered in the Senate of the United States because of the understanding of the fact that the Constitution gives the President the right to a vote.”
Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of judges from 51 to 60, and that’s essentially what we’d be doing if the Democrats were going to filibuster.”
Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation.”
I don’t have to tell you that each of these Senators voted to block Mr. Liu’s nomination from reaching the floor.