Friday, April 22, 2005

Dominionists vs. the Constitution: "Break the rules to change the rules" 

Amazingly, the Christian Broadcasting Network has the money quote from Reid:

[REID] "They're going to break the rules to change the rules. And that seems really unfair. ... [Senator] Mitch [McConnell] can flex his muscles all he wants and talk about his having the votes, and maybe he does, but what he's doing is illegal. The parliamentarian of the United States Senate has said it's illegal. And to do this, you would have to break the rules to change the rules, and that's not the American way."
(via CBN)

Damn straight.

Think about about it.

The rule is, 60 votes to cut off debate. Yet Bill "Hello Kitty" Frist and his Dominionist owners claim that 50 votes can change that rule. Suppose your bass fishing club had a rule that a 60% vote was needed to admit a new member. And some guys wanted to admit a really obnoxious guy you didn't like, but only had 50% of the votes. So, with that 50%, they decide to change the rules requiring a 60% vote, so they can get their guy in. Would you stand for that? I didn't think so.

That's just what the Republicans are trying to do, and the Senate Parliamentarian (the umpire, the Republican-appointed expert on the rules) wouldn't stand for it either:

When he was majority leader, Lott appointed the parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, after firing his predecessor, Bob Dove.

Reid received the assurance from the parliamentarian during a private conversation within the past few weeks, according to aides. Reid told reporters this week that the parliamentarian assured him that, if Republicans go through with the move, “they will have to overrule him, because what they are doing is wrong.”

A Congressional Research Service report on the subject, updated this month, leaves little doubt that moves being contemplated by Republicans — specifically a ruling that a supermajority requirement to cut off debate is not in order — would not be based on previous precedents of the Senate.

The appeal of such a ruling would normally be debatable, although a Republican could move to table any such appeal — denying Democrats the opportunity to delay a ruling.

“Employment of either of these versions of the constitutional nuclea option’ would require the chair to overturn previous precedent,” according to the report, “either by ruling on a question that by precedent has been submitted to the Senate, or by ruling non-debatable a question that by precedent has been treated as debatable.”
(via The Hill

Jim Lehrer and Norman Ornstein detail how this train wreck would happen:

JIM LEHRER: Now, let's go to the next step. Let's say the filibuster is on, the call is for the cloture vote, and then they don't have 60 votes.


JIM LEHRER: Then Bill Frist will do what, under the nuclear option?

NORM ORNSTEIN: Under the nuclear option he will stand up and make a point of order that a filibuster against a judicial nomination is unconstitutional. And the chair, which very likely in this case will be Vice President Dick Cheney, the president of the Senate -- doesn't have to be -- will agree with that point of order, and say the opinion of the chair is unconstitutional.

JIM LEHRER: Then that goes to a vote, does it not?

NORM ORNSTEIN: Goes to a vote. There's a little bit of a catch-22 here, however that is that under the Senate rules, constitutional issues themselves are debatable. So the point of order, in effect, would be debatable. And that could be filibustered.

And what will have to happen here is that the chair [Cheney or, possible, Stevens] will have to ignore the parliamentarian, who has already said that in his opinion that's what would have to take place, or they would basically overrule the parliamentarian. Then the way the Senate operates is that points of order or challenges under the rules can come to a vote, and a majority can make that decision. So it will be a majority vote.

JIM LEHRER: So then assuming that Majority Leader Frist gets his way and through some combination, either it's 50/50 and then the vice president would cast the deciding vote, so you have a new set of rules that would apply to judicial nominations, right?

"Point of order, Mr. Chairman, point of order..." The past isn't dead, is it? It's not even past.

Reid has it exactly right. "Break a rule, to change a rule." It makes no sense at all to change a rule that requires a 60% vote based on a 50% vote. The Senate Parliamentarian, a Republican, agrees. But Frist and the Dominionists who own him are so drunk with power they'll do anything as long as they can keep hoisting the glass to their lips.

Frist, as of now, is saying that he's only going to break the rules this one time, to end the filibuster against the Bush's extreme de la extreme judges.

Please refer this to The Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

Everything we know about the Dominionists tells us they have no stopping points at all; that's what Domininionisms means. So much for the Constitution.

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