Blogging in Berkeley. Notes on news, politics, law, and technology in the US and China. [This blog is inactive. I am now staying busy and having a great time at UVA Law.]
Thursday, May 19, 2005
  NYT and the Filibuster

Juan Non-Volokh on NYT and filibusters-

The Volokh Conspiracy - -:
"NYT on Filibusters -- Then and Now: Today the NYT editorializes against elimination of the judicial filibuster. According to the Times' editorialists, the filibuster and other modes of obstruction are 'all part of the Senate's time-honored deliberative role and of its protection of minority rights, which Republican leaders would now desecrate in overreaching from their majority perch.'

In 1995, however, the NYT sang a different tune. In a January 1, 1995 editorial (posted on on NRO's Bench Memos here), the NYT hailed Senator Harkin's proposal to limit the filibuster.

[begin NYT 1995 quote] For years Senate filibusters -- when they weren't conjuring up romantic images of Jimmy Stewart as Mr. Smith, passing out from exhaustion on the Senate floor -- consisted mainly of negative feats of endurance. . . .

Once a rarely used tactic reserved for issues on which senators held passionate convictions, the filibuster has become the tool of the sore loser, dooming any measure that cannot command the 60 required votes. [end NYT 1995 quote]

In 1995, the NYT endorsed a proposal for successively lower cloture-vote requirements to allow a determined majority to win the day, while still preserving the minority's right to prolong debate and voice its opposition. Senator Frist's 100-hours-of-debate proposal would produce the same effect, yet the NYT blasted this as a 'No-Compromise Compromise' on May 3.

Senators of both parties have been inconsistent in their views of the filibuster. That's what one expects from politicians. Is it too much to expect greater consistency from the nation's one-time paper of record?

UPDATE: The LA Times, on the other hand, stands on principle and advocates eliminating the judicial filibuster even though it will allow the confirmation of judicial nominees it does not like."

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