March 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Can the president legally order a drone strike to kill an American on U.S. soil? Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. wrote this week in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that he could envision "an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate" to use such lethal force. Those words touched off a heated debate Wednesday in the Senate over when and where the president can order the killing of U.S. citizens designated as "enemy combatants. " President Obama and his aides have said that targeted killings of Americans must be governed by some due process.
November 22, 2004
Re "Breaking the Siege in the Judge War," Commentary, Nov. 16: It is unfortunate that some "qualified" judicial nominees are held up by the Senate. However, a rule change ending filibusters is not the answer. The statement by John Lott and Sonya Jones that this change would result in a system that "better serves everyone's interests" is disingenuous at best. The fact that a minority party has some power over judicial nominations is why the founding fathers created the "advice and consent" role in the Constitution.
November 15, 2003
Re "GOP Extends Senate Talkathon," Nov. 14: So the Bush administration is not satisfied with the 98% of President Bush's judicial nominees already confirmed by the Senate; the Senate Republicans therefore planned the "debate" that began Wednesday night and continued through Friday on extremist judicial nominees blocked by the Democrats. The Senate Democrats understand that confirming extremist judges for lifetime appointments could, and probably will, turn back the clock on American justice for decades to come and cause irreversible environmental damage.
May 21, 2003
Douglas Kmiec (Commentary, May 19) is off-base in his assessment of the Senate as being nonrepresentative because of the cloture rule, which requires 60 votes to break a filibuster. The idea behind the Senate, as the founding fathers devised it, was to have a more deliberative body where a bill would need at least some consensus to pass, as opposed to the House of Representatives, where the majority ruled absolutely. The Republicans hold 51 Senate seats -- hardly a commanding majority -- yet Kmiec would have us allow that meager preponderance to have the power to railroad its bills and nominations through Congress.
February 13, 2010
We hope the revelation that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) had placed "holds" on some 70 of President Obama's nominations will energize opposition to this outrageous practice by which one senator, sometimes out of personal pique, can block a vote on a nominee. This week, Shelby said that he was withdrawing his holds on all but a few of the nominees because he had gotten the administration's attention on two issues dear to his constituents: the acquisition by the Air Force of an aerial refueling tanker and the building of a new FBI facility for analyzing explosives.
June 29, 1999 |
With the House already in danger of a budgetary train wreck later this year, the Senate began to veer off track Monday in its efforts to pass the big-ticket money bills that finance the government. Unable to extricate themselves from a partisan stalemate over health care reform, Senate Republican leaders failed to end a Democratic filibuster that could lead to action on four major appropriations measures.
May 15, 2013 |
In requiring the U.S. Senate to confirm presidential appointments, the Constitution aims to ensure a second level of scrutiny of the qualifications of government officials. But Senate Republicans have hijacked the confirmation process, not only to thwart individual nominees but to undermine laws they don't agree with. If they continue in their obstructionism, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should revisit the possibility of doing away with the filibuster for nominations. The most immediate test case involves the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that moderates disputes between labor and management.
April 17, 2013 |
Patton Oswalt is guest starring in this week's "Parks and Recreation," but the most impressive thing about his appearance is what you won't see on NBC. As part of the episode, Oswalt's character was supposed to appear before a Pawnee City Council meeting and filibuster a proposed vote. Producers invited Oswalt to "ramble a bit about whatever subject he wanted. " Oswalt decided his topic of choice was a pitch for the upcoming "Star Wars Episode VII. " While we wouldn't dream of spoiling the twists and turns the story takes, let's just say that he's found a brilliant way to merge two of the Disney corporation's biggest franchises (and even one they don't own)