• Harry Reid and Obama may double down on controversial nominations during the upcoming lame duck session. What have they got to lose? Maybe in 2017, a Republican President and Senate will repay them in kind, but at this point a Democratic President and Senate in 2017 are equally likely.

  • Really? You really think that Harry Reid’s decision to end filibusters on judicial nominees did not end well? He got a large number of appointments through. That was the objective. Sure, there is a chance that 2016 will bring a Republican president and Republican senate, but I agree with Hugo.

    And “court-packing”? Come on. That is a term used for what FDR tried to do to the Supreme Court (enlarging the court so that he could have a majority of justices agree with him). Senator Reid was merely trying to allow the president to appoint judges. If Senator Reid was court-packing, then George Bush was too, when he appointed two Supreme Court justices. Finally, it was and is the conservatives who have been obsessed with the ideology of the courts and taken a very aggressive role in appointing young, conservative people to the bench.

    I simply find it laughable that you would be shocked that a current president would do something that dates back almost to the founding of the republic. Anyone remember John Adams and the midnight appointments (out of which came the minor case of Marbury v. Madison)?

  • Sure, it played well for a while for Harry Reid’s perspective. Now we get to see how it plays when the Republicans control the Senate and wish to shut down the Democrats’ filibustering. Let us know in eighteen months how well you think it’s playing.


  • Given the current political importance of judicial nominations, I agree with Allan that the Republican bias toward young nominees is a problem, especially on the Supreme Court. We get untried forty-year-olds who might or might not pan out, rather than sixty-year-olds at the height of their wisdom and intellectual power.

    We should amend the Constitution to limit judicial terms to twelve years. Supreme Court justices at the end of twelve years should have the option to step down automatically to an appeals court.
    Whatever they do, they would be eligible after two years for another Supreme Court nomination.

  • Harry Reid did us a favor, even if it was for partisan purposes. The Senate is already unrepresentative enough, without supermajority requirements not found in the Constitution.

    The loss of the filibuster will force Obama to take responsibility for vetoing popular legislation (eg the Keystone XL) pipeline, rather than counting on Harry Reid to bury it.

    We may also see a lot of double nominations: someone Obama likes in exchange for someone the Republican Senate likes.

  • In the 1995 Martin Scorcese movie “Casino” the character of the corrupt State Senator – played by Dick Smothers – is partly based on then-Nevada State Senator Harry Reid. The courtroom scene in which Sam Rothstein – played by Robert De Niro – is denied a license by the Nevada Gaming Commission is based on a December 1978 hearing when Harry Reid was the Gaming Commission’s chairman; in fact, some of Reid’s statements were used in Smother’s dialogue.

    It’s all catching up to him.