This agreement firmly establishes the 60-vote super majority as a hurdle, however remote, that all future judges must clear. It also establishes a small minority of 14 senators as the real power in the Senate.
While Senator Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, said he and his colleagues reserve the right to call on the chair to rule that a simple majority is needed to change the rules and confirm judges by majority vote, that is less likely to happen given the rapport the moderates have found and the editorial hosannas that will come from the usual newspaper suspects, which want no justice on the Supreme Court who will stand against abortion on demand, the sanctioning of secularism or the advance of same-sex marriage.
Republicans increased their majorities in the House and Senate and President Bush won re-election largely because most voters perceived them as having principles and wanting to restrain the moral and social mudslide that judges have assisted in bringing forth on this nation. Now, by refusing to pull the majority trigger, Republican "moderates" effectively say only what they think matters and not what the voters decide.
Why are Republicans afraid to use power? The excuse that they haven't had it that long is no longer valid. They've held power in Congress for a decade and now have united government. It must be a character flaw. They prefer the praise of liberals to the affirmation of their conscience.
If voters in South Dakota can defeat former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, perhaps there are enough citizens who believe in the Constitution and majority rule to oust some of these "moderates" from their seats and replace them with people who believe that principles are beyond negotiation and compromise.
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