The Filibuster Deal – Why There’s Still Hope That Bush’s Court-Packing Scheme Can Be Stopped

Yesterday I made the point that the GOP Senate leadership was pursuing the nuclear option because President Bush (a.ka. Karl Rove) wanted it done.

By ending the filibuster, President Bush meant to clear the way to pack the Supreme Court with wingnuts who will rule against privacy rights and in favor of corporate interests – and thus overturn democracy in the United States. Viewed from this perspective, the compromise last night by 14 so-called moderates in the Senate was not a win for the President. As a loss, however, it would appear to represent merely a bump in the road.

Or does it?

When Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist retires this summer, Bush/Rove will nominate Justice Antonin Scalia, right, to take his place. The Democrats in the Senate will probably pass on filibustering Scalia – the argument being that he has already been through the nomination process so is off limits for rigorous debate – so we should all start learning to live with the fact that one of the most celebrated Neanderthal political thinkers in the country as the head of highest court in the land.

With Scalia installed, the President will then put up a nominee as odious as Scalia to take his place. At this point, we may see the return of Janice (“New Deal = Socialism”) Rogers Brown or Priscilla (“Enron”) Owens. This nomination will almost undoubtedly be filibustered by Reid & co. Or at least I hope so.

What’s key here is that even when a Scalia clone is installed on the court, the zero-sum game among the Supremes remains status quo. Two seats held by ultra-rightwing justices will still be held by ultra-rightwing justices.

The time required to install these two new judges could put us into early 2006 – especially if the second nominee is filibustered by the Dems. It is unlikely that Bush will want to undertake a third nomination in the run-up to the Congressional elections in the fall. Since the third justice seat to be fill will likely be that of swing-voter Sandra Day O’Connor, there is at least the possibility that Bush can be stopped from replacing her with an ultra-right jurist.

How? If the poll numbers for Bush and the GOP Congress remain as low as they are now, there is a strong chance that control of the Senate could change from GOP to the Dems. With Majority Leader Harry Reid to contend with, the then-chastened, lame duck Bush will not want to pick a fight over his next Supreme Court nominee.

Why? Because he will have his own ass to worry about. With the Dems in charge of the Senate, Bush will, for the first time, face serious investigations into the lies he told in the run-up to the war, the way the energy bill was crafted, his lies about the Medicaid bill, and on and on and on.

With the truth finally exposed, believe it or not, George W. Bush could be faced with the Nixon gambit – a car load of GOP leaders making their way up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House to tell him that the truth is out, and he should resign or surely he’ll face impeachment.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?


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