If Senate Shuts Down, Who's to Blame? ; Facing Bush Judicial Nominees, Eager Interest Groups, and the 'Nuclear Option,' a Divided Senate Keeps Raising the Stakes

By Gail Russell Chaddock writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 26, 2005 | Go to article overview

If Senate Shuts Down, Who's to Blame? ; Facing Bush Judicial Nominees, Eager Interest Groups, and the 'Nuclear Option,' a Divided Senate Keeps Raising the Stakes


Gail Russell Chaddock writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


As the Senate moves toward a showdown over the so-called nuclear option, risks and rewards confront both Republicans and Democrats, whatever the outcome.

Both sides concede that the move to lower the threshold required to end a filibuster from 60 votes to a simple majority could shut down the Senate. But it's not clear for how long, with what consequences, and who would be blamed if the Senate's work grinds to a halt.

When almost half of federal employees stopped work at noon on Nov. 14, 1995, President Clinton blamed the Republican Congress. Most Americans believed him. The GOP lost seats in the 1996 elections, and House Speaker Newt Gingrich later resigned.

A similar Armageddon scenario is shaping up in the Senate, as two of President Bush's most controversial judicial nominees await a floor vote.

For Republicans, it's a test of whether they can move the president's nominees through a Senate they now control with a margin of five votes. The judicial impasse has become a defining issue for Senate majority leader Bill Frist, who is weighing a presidential run in 2008.

For Democrats, the challenge is to hold the line on nominees they deem unqualified, while avoiding the label "obstructionist." Former Senate minority leader Tom Daschle lost his seat in the 2004 election after outside groups poured millions into his state to promote that view.

"The Senate is about to enter its own cold war," says Jennifer Duffy, Senate analyst for the Cook Political Report. "Democrats have done a very good job of backing [Senate majority leader Bill] Frist into a corner and keeping him there."

At the same time, powerful interest groups in both camps are fueling the conflict with ad campaigns, petition drives, and rallies outside the US Senate. Both sides accuse the other of being driven by "extremist groups."

In a videotaped speech to a Christian conservative rally in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday, Senator Frist renewed his call for what Republicans now call the "constitutional option," should Democrats filibuster another judicial nominee. "Now if Senator Reid continues to obstruct the process, we will consider what opponents call the 'nuclear option.' Only in the United States Senate could it be considered a devastating option to allow a vote. Most places call that democracy," Frist said.

At a Monitor breakfast on Monday, Senator Democratic leader Harry Reid gave no signs of backing off the filibuster threat. For the first time, he also laid out plans for a post nuclear-option Senate. "I have always said we wanted to make sure that the Senate went forward, but we're going to do it on our own agenda," he said.

In recent days, Democrats have been quietly putting their own bills on the Senate calendar. Using an obscure Senate procedure called Rule XIV, they plan to move these bills onto the agenda if Republicans "pull the trigger" on the nuclear option. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

If Senate Shuts Down, Who's to Blame? ; Facing Bush Judicial Nominees, Eager Interest Groups, and the 'Nuclear Option,' a Divided Senate Keeps Raising the Stakes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.