Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Trip Down Memory Lane

For our Republican-led press.

SF Chron, 5/19/2004:

Bush's disavowal of further recess appointments this year virtually dooms those nominations. Republicans could try to change Senate rules and prohibit filibusters on judicial nominations -- a tactic known as the "nuclear option," which Republican leaders have refrained from attempting -- or could revive the nominations next year if Bush is re-elected.

WaPo, 10/26/2004:

His nuclear rhetoric has seeped into domestic matters. In a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, riff on the administration's troubles getting judges confirmed through Senate Democrats, Cheney said Republicans have considered procedural challenges designed to prevent nominations from being filibustered. "Some people call that . . . sort of the nuclear option," Cheney said, adding that such a move "would start an amazing battle on the floor of the Senate. Some of us think there's a certain appeal to that kind of an approach."

San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/12/2004:

Democrats and Republicans alike refer to such a move as the "nuclear option," wary that it will trigger a long and uncivil war in the upper chamber.

Post-Gazette, 11/15/2004:

Specter also said controversial proposal floated by Frist to eliminate filibusters for judicial nominees should be "on the table" when senators return to work tomorrow. Under the Frist proposal, known in Senate circles as the "nuclear option," Vice President Dick Cheney, as presiding officer of the Senate, would rule that filibusters on judicial nominations violate the Constitution's directive that judges be appointed with the "advice and consent" of that body.

Post-Gazette, 11/16/2004:

With conservative Republicans, even the idea of the Democrats being in a position to block nominees with filibusters has come into question. Sen. Frist has suggested the highly controversial idea of ending this tradition. Sen. Specter, now bending over backward to be the party man, said on another TV show that the so-called "nuclear option" should be on the table.

Not for nothing is the filibuster-killing amendment dubbed "nuclear." It would blow collegiality away and with it any sense that the parties could retreat from fiercely partisan positions. Capitol Hill would be scorched with ill will.

Financial Times, 11/18/2004:

In the Senate, Republicans yesterday discussed whether to use the so-called "nuclear option" - changing the body's rules on the use of the filibuster against the president's judicial nominees. Under the long-standing Senate procedure, just 40 votes of the 100-member body are required to block action.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Q&A with Dick Durbin, 11/28/2004:

Q Is it likely the Republicans will use the nuclear option (barring the use of filibusters on judicial nominations?)

A The Republican leadership indicated to us they would not. They did not say they would never do it, but I hope they don't. It would be a terrible way to start a session.

WaPo, 12/13/2004:

Republicans say that Democrats have abused the filibuster by blocking 10 of the president's 229 judicial nominees in his first term -- although confirmation of Bush nominees exceeds in most cases the first-term experience of presidents dating to Ronald Reagan. Describing the filibusters as intolerable, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has hinted he may resort to an unusual parliamentary maneuver, dubbed the "nuclear option," to thwart such filibusters.

WaPo, 12/20/2004:

During Bush's first term, Democrats would did not allow a vote on 10 of the 52 appointments he made to fill vacancies on federal appeals courts. The overwhelming majority of Bush's 229 judicial nominees, however, were confirmed by the Senate. After the Republicans' Election Day gains, conservative groups have been increasing pressure on Senate Republicans to force votes on Bush judicial nominees. Senate Republicans are considering whether to employ a rare and highly controversial parliamentary maneuver -- dubbed the "nuclear option" -- to declare filibusters against judicial nominations unconstitutional.

Bob Novak, 12/20/2004:

This is the "nuclear option" that creates fear and loathing among Democrats and weak knees for some Republicans, including conservative opinion leaders. Ever since Frist publicly embraced the nuclear option, he has been accused of abusing the Senate's cherished tradition of extended debate.


Frist drew a line in the sand Nov. 11 in addressing the conservative Federalist Society: "One way or another, the filibuster of judicial nominees must end." The way he indicated was a rules change -- the nuclear option.

NYT, 12/24/2004:

Nan Aron, the president of the Alliance for Justice, a liberal group that monitors judicial nominations, said that Mr. McClellan's statement appeared to be an effort to ease the way for Republicans to undertake what is sometimes called ''the nuclear option'' -- having the presiding officer of the Senate declare filibusters out of order. Democrats say they would have no choice but to challenge that and bring business to a halt.

Houston Chronicle, 12/24/2004:

If Democrats attempt a stalemate, Republicans have threatened to use what is called the "Nuclear Option" - a parliamentary tactic to force a vote on forbidding filibuster on judicial nominees. That would require a two-thirds vote, far from a certainty in the Senate.

CSM, 12/27/2004

In the looming battle over President Bush's judicial nominations, much has been said about using the so-called nuclear option to by-pass Democratic filibusters.

First appearance in major papers of phrase "constitutional option" appers to be in the WaPo, 12/13/2004, and is the only time that phrase appeared in 2004 in reference to this issue.