The liberals who killed Jimmy Stewart
Like all certainties in life, rules in the Senate change. One of America's most glorified political theatrics, the filibuster, now only exists should the majority party choose.
It's not likely any future majority should acquiesce.
When Republicans during the Bush 41 administration considered changing the rules to eliminate the tradition established by duelist Aaron Burr in 1807 and first actually performed by Sen. Henry Clay in 1842, Democrats wailed and cried on how "evil Dick Cheney" might consider overriding Democratic party filibusters by changing Senate rules to allow a simple majority to pass Bush judicial and cabinet appointees.
Frustrated by that annoying little minority party's ability to prolong the process of confirming President Barack Obama's appointments, the Democrats chose to light the fuse on the nuclear option they so opposed when Republicans had the majority.
There's nothing unconstitutional about the move. There's nothing un-American about it.
There's also nothing intelligent about it.
The consequences are serious. The Democrats want very much to place liberals on the D.C. Circuit Court. Appointees to the D.C Circuit Court are not merely anonymous judiciary who toil at thoughtfully considering the U.S. Constitution in ministering their decisions.
This is the minor league team from which many Supreme Court justices have been drafted.
Supreme Court justices from the D.C. Circuit Court include Elena Kagan, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chief Justices John Roberts, Fred Vinson and Warren Burger.
Now, liberals such as Juan Williams are celebrating destruction of the filibuster as "heroic." Why? Changing the Senate rule from requiring two-thirds of the Senate to approve of these nominees to a simple majority of 51 votes allows Obama to load up the court with Big Government liberals who believe the constitution is a flexible living document that can be ignored as they see fit.
Shame on those horrible minority party Republicans for obstructing the right of Senate Democrats to load up the courts as they see fit.
Actually, it is the Democrats' right as the majority to try, and it has been the right of the minority party to use the filibuster to block appointments and legislation, as Strom Thurmond, William Fulbright and other Democrats filibustered against civil rights laws such as the Republicans' irritating "anti-lynching" laws. How annoying.
And who is Juan Williams' hero in all of this? The now legendary Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who now is considered a "left-wing hero" for tenaciously lobbying Sen. Harry Reid to end the filibuster forever with the help of fellow Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.
Juan Williams celebrates this by explaining Democrats couldn't pass enough legislation. "Only 56 pieces of legislation have been passed by the 113th Congress and signed into law by the president."
As though a quantity of bills, not quality, will benefit the country.
If that were true, "stimulus," "cash for clunkers," and "green scheme" crony-capitalism-campaign-contribution-kickback bills already would have improved the economy.
Merkley's "terrific vote," as he calls it, certainly will be duplicated by future Republicans in the majority.
Remember this: In the future, you will read and hear Democrats bemoaning "unconstitutional" and "bullying" Republicans trying to "force" conservative jurists onto the D.C. Circuit Court in their quest to load up the court with horrible constructionist jurists whose troglodyte beliefs include considering the outdated U.S. Constitution in crafting decisions.
Also remember "Merkley's Folly," foolishly setting the precedent to the applause of liberals such as Williams, Obama, Reid, etc.
In the Frank Capra classic, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," the legendary Jimmy Stewart plays the everyman-good-guy unexpectedly appointed to fill a Senate seat, pushing against corruption, compelled to filibuster to save his reputation and land for a boys' camp. The corrupt politicians all around him defeat him and his constituents over and over again, only to be overcome by the confession of a corrupt politician responsible for attempting the destruction of Stewart's reputation.
In today's version, Democrat "hero" Merkley hamstrings Jimmy Stewart from behind, eliminates the filibuster altogether and hands over the governmental puppeteer strings to the Senate majority leader who now can do as he pleases while a hog-tied and gagged Jimmy Stewart watches helplessly from the sidelines.
No one need confess any wrongdoing because there's no one to draw attention to any malfeasance.
This now is the legacy of Jeff "Hero" Merkley of Oregon, Reid and cheerleaders such as Williams.
All eyes will look to them when future liberals bemoan Republicans confirming justices such as Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist to the D.C. Circuit Court, which is really a possibility that could lead us all to a wonderful life.
Rick Jensen is Delaware's award-winning conservative radio talk show host.