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Letter to the Editor: Not One Rule for Thee, But Another for Me

November 18, 2014 in Economics

By Roger Pilon

Roger Pilon

Dear Sirs:

In their respective letters (Nov. 11) criticizing Sen. Orrin Hatch and former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray’s “After Harry Reid , the GOP Shouldn’t Unilaterally Disarm” (op-ed, Nov. 6), which urges the new Republican Senate not to reinstate the filibuster for judicial nominees, Frank Oelerich and Parker O’Brien both miss the point. You can’t have one rule for Republicans and another for Democrats, as we had with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mr. Oelerich writes that “the filibuster rule had been a time-tested and democratic way” of protecting the minority party. True, for legislation. But it was only in 2003 after they lost the Senate that the Democrats started filibustering President Bush’s judicial nominees. When Republicans filibustered President Obama’s judicial nominees, selectively, Sen. Reid went “nuclear,” eliminating it. It’s heads I win, tails you lose.

When the letter writers both urge Republicans to avoid hypocrisy by reinstating the judicial filibuster, they not only misunderstand the history of the matter, but point their fingers at the wrong party. With Democrats having twice shown themselves quite capable of hypocrisy and unwilling to play by the rules—whatever they may be—it’s no time for Republicans to unilaterally disarm, as Messrs. Hatch and Gray put it. You needn’t be a partisan to understand that.

Roger Pilon is vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute, founder and director of Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies, and publisher of the Cato Supreme Court Review.

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Source: OP-EDS

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