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Why the GOP Should Filibuster Hagel

1:45 PM, Feb 21, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Quin Hillyer, writing at the Center for Individual Freedom, explains why Senate Republicans should continue filibustering Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary:

If Hagel’s shortcomings are so obvious, but enough Democrats seem cowed (for now) by the White House into voting for him anyway, the question becomes whether, and for how long, a filibuster against his nomination is appropriate. The first problem is that Republican senators seem entirely confused about the parliamentary tactic itself. Not only can they not agree as a group, but some individuals can’t seem to decide even in their own minds when and for what purpose a filibuster is warranted.

Perhaps they should consider a filibuster in its historical context, which originally was, honestly, to extend debate in order to have more time to persuade the public and other senators of one’s case. In extreme circumstances, of course, the ceaseless delay became, in effect, an outright blockage of legislation or nominees – but the legislative death-by-filibuster approach, rather than the “serve the cause of honest debate” approach, was rare enough that its use signaled a matter of particularly high importance, rather than a run-of-the-mill issue or action.

It would thus be more appropriate, not less, to use death-by-filibuster on the nomination of a Defense Secretary than on the nomination of, say, a U.S. Attorney. And it certainly would be appropriate to put a series of delays on such a nomination if it were reasonably thought that more relevant information was or should be forthcoming, or if it were reasonably thought that public opinion could be significantly altered – and especially if a sincere attempt were made in the meantime, via public debate on the Senate floor, to change fellow senators’ minds.

Finally of note, there are reasons within the internal logic of the Constitution (if not its outright letter) that make a filibuster of a Cabinet nominee more appropriate than a lengthy filibuster of a judicial nominee – and that make a filibuster specifically of the nominee for the Pentagon the single most appropriate of all potential blocking actions against officials requiring presidential appointment with the “advice and consent” of the Senate.

Read the whole thing here.

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