The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

18 March 2005

Redefining "majority"

This is what Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said:

Why would we give lifetime appointments to people who earn up to $200,000 a year, with absolutely a great retirement system, and all the things all Americans wish for, with absolutely no check and balance except that one confirmation vote. So we're saying we think you ought to get nine votes over the 51 required. That isn't too much to ask for such a super important position. There ought to be a super vote. Don't you think so? It's the only check and balance on these people. They're in for life. They don't stand for election like we do, which is scary.

What'll you bet that if the Democrats had thirty-five votes in the Senate, instead of forty-five, Boxer would be insisting on a two-thirds majority for confirmation?

Now if she wants to introduce a Constitutional amendment to require a three-fifths, or whatever, majority, that's just fine with me. Otherwise, she needs to find something else to piss and moan about. (And unfortunately, she almost certainly will.)

Posted at 12:15 PM to Political Science Fiction


TrackBack: 5:17 AM, 24 March 2005
» Constitution, what Constitution? from Ravenwood's Universe
When it comes to judicial nominations, some Democrats are ready to throw the Constitution out the window. Enter Senator Barbara "gun in her purse" Boxer (D-CA), the lone Senator who earlier this year tried to invalidate the vote of every......[read more]

The actual text of the Constitution doesn't require even a majority. What it says is “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate”. There are a couple of interesting things about that formulation. First, it implies that the Senate is actually doing the appointing. Second, by the old principle of silence signifying assent it would appear that the Senate failing to reject a confirmand could be construed as appointment. Third, there is no requirement whatsoever for a vote. Finally, had the Framers intended that such appointments be democratic they would have required both houses of Congress to approve by majority. Remember that the Senate used to be an appointed office.

With only a couple of exceptions all of the post-Bill of Rights amendments to the Constitution have been mistakes and the worst was the popular election of the Senate.

Posted by: Dave Schuler at 1:35 PM on 18 March 2005