Starr pointed out that Obama enters office with healthy Democratic majorities in the House and Senate; however, he said “the salience of this very enviable position, politically, for our president is brought home by the president’s own approach to the high court during his years of service as a United States senator.”
He continued: “There is one historical factoid of note: He is the first president of the United States ever in our history to have participated in a Senate filibuster of a judicial nominee. Never before has that happened.”…
Starr quoted from a November article in The Washington Times by my colleague S.A. Miller about the problems Obama faces.
“‘Senate Republicans say the president-elect’s voting record and long simmering resentments over Democrats’ treatment of President Bush’s nominees will leave Mr. Obama hard-pressed to call for bipartisan help confirming judges or even an up-or-down vote,'” he quoted.
Once Franken — excuse me, Senator-elect Franken — is seated, they’ll be one slim Collins, Snowe, or Specter vote away from a filibuster-proof confirmation. In fact, they won’t even need them initially: The One’s first nominee is likely to be a woman (guaranteed if the vacancy’s created by Ginsburg) and there’s no way the GOP’s going to leave itself open to identity-politics attacks about misogyny by filibustering her. As for future nominations, Collins and Snowe are both members of the Gang of 14, which vowed not to filibuster absent “extraordinary circumstances,” and Specter’s adopted that logic himself informally in interviews, so flipping them will be even easier than usual. Exit question: What exactly would qualify as “extraordinary circumstances” for an Obama nominee?