Obama and Reid's machine will damage us for decades
The Democrats’ plan to dominate at least one key branch of government is rolling out fine for them. When Harry Reid went nuclear and eliminated the filibuster for federal judges, Obama’s left-wing judicial nominees were readily approved by the Democratic-dominated Senate. These are judges -- some on key courts that rule on the legality of not just laws but regulations -- who serve life-time tenures. They will solidify the agenda of Obama for years after he leaves office.
Since Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) changed Senate rules in November to ease President Barack Obama’s approval of most nominees, Democrats have churned through confirmations of dozens of new judges — giving them lifetime appointments that will extend the administration’s influence for years to come. Over a roughly equivalent period during the 113th Congress, the Senate confirmed 36 district and circuit judges before the rules change and 68 after, according to Senate statistics.
Republicans have fought Democrats at every step, using their remaining procedural tools to stymie quick approval of judges and many executive branch nominees whose sway over regulations are magnified by today’s congressional stalemate. But the days of epic confirmation fights are over now because all nominees — save for those to the Supreme Court — need only a bare majority for approval after Democrats used the unilateral “nuclear option” to change the rules.
Now, Obama is catching up to the judicial confirmation records of his immediate predecessors and recasting the balance of the courts. Far more important than the minuscule number of major new laws this Congress, Democrats say, will be the installation of liberal-leaning justices up and down the bench.
“The rules change has made a huge difference,” said Marge Baker, a vice president at People for the American Way. “The legacy of this Congress has been the impact that the president and the Senate have made with judicial vacancies.” (snip)
Republicans don’t dispute that some key nominees would have been defeated under the old rules. Instead they highlight changes in balance of power: The Senate had long stood as a counter to the president; now the chamber processes Obama’s choices with little scrutiny.
“It’s empowered Obama and has taken power away from elected representatives that could offer a check on Obama,” said a Senate Republican aide.
Liberals are pushing for the retirement of senior Supreme Court Justices so Obama and Reid can plant even more liberal justices to the highest court of the land.
Recent polls highlight a large majority of Americans oppose further executive overreach by Obama. Obama’s takeover of the federal judiciary would potentially be among his greatest grabs for power -- a power he will gleefully see exercised as he makes millions giving speeches, setting up a charitable foundation (a la Bill Clinton) and golfing after his second term is over.
Democrats worry that a Republican takeover of the Senate in January will derail their plans:
The focus on nominations underscores the fears that Republicans will win the Senate and close the confirmation door to Obama.
“I’m sure they will shut it down. That’s why we’re launching everyone through,” said a Democratic leadership aide. “Even if we’re still in the majority, we’ll probably spend a lot of time in the lame duck on the nominees.”
Democrats are anticipating that their legacy may be defined sooner rather than later. Reid has joked about the “simple math” that gives Democrats the edge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, deemed by most legal watchers to be second only to the Supreme Court in legal impact and precedent.
That court was the focal point of Democrats’ decision to lower the voting bar from 60 to a simple majority after the GOP rejected three of Obama’s picks last fall for the then-evenly split court. Now, Democratic appointees are in the majority, which will affect legal challenges to the president on laws like Affordable Care Act.
This highlights the vital importance of winning the Senate to serve as a block on further Obama overreach.
Time to shut the Democrats down.