A kinder, gentler nuke

An eminently qualified former judge weighs in with a "fair" solution to the Senate's standoff

Published May 9, 2005 7:16PM (EDT)

The political right's idea of compromise on the filibuster standoff is already plenty apparent, but in case you need a little refresher, there's an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal today by a former federal judge proposing a solution he considers to be "fair and reasonable to both sides." It's called the "Judicial Confirmation Improvements Act."

"Such an act," the former judge writes, "should provide that within a certain period of time after a judicial nomination is received a hearing will be held, within a specified time a nominee will be voted out of committee, with or without a favorable recommendation, and within a certain period of time the full Senate will debate and confirm or reject a nominee by majority vote. This will be fair to presidents from either party. Nominees will know that within a reasonable period of time they will be confirmed or not confirmed, and they can get on with life."

A kinder, fairer nuking of the filibuster, then, which permits the minority party a little time to stamp its feet in protest before being obliterated by the expected vote? This more "humane" version of the F-bomb (the legislative one, not the Dick Cheney one) is the wisdom of right-wing Mississippian Charles Pickering, who served on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004, following a recess appointment by President Bush -- and, of course, no confirmation vote in the Senate at all.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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