OLC: Grand Obstruction Party Still Obstructing Dawn Johnsen’s Nomination

Listen my children and you shall hear, of the continued obstruction and gooberish fear…

The Grand Obstruction Party and weak-kneed Democratic leadership. Still at it:

Still unconfirmed are three circuit court nominees and four nominees for assistant attorney general positions, including Dawn Johnsen for the Office of Legal Counsel. Democrats need Republican agreement in order to move the nominees forward, unless they want to use days of time on the Senate floor.

And there it is, in a nutshell.

What I’ve been hearing all along is that Johnsen does have the votes to get past cloture — with both Nelson and Specter intending to vote for cloture, regardless of their ultimate nomination vote. So, what’s the hold-up in bringing this vote to the floor?

The lack of leadership willpower to expend political capital and Senate floor time to force it through.

In other words, the Democratic leadership will not go to the mattresses for these nominees and the GOP knows they are too weak to do it.

As David Waldman has patiently explained, time and time again, the mere threat of a filibuster-esque thought on a particular nominee or legislative whimsy is enough to send the Democratic leadership in the Senate off with a case of the immobilized vapors:

So do Republicans intend to filibuster the bill? Probably not in the sense that they want to see it killed, which means they’ll deny that they’re engaged in a filibuster, or even threatening one. But make no mistake, there is no reason why anything in the Senate requires 60 votes except to end a filibuster, whether one materializes out in the open or not. If the threat is that the bill’s opponents will force a 60 vote threshold unless they get an opportunity to change the bill, the threat is nothing other than a threat to filibuster.

Will a filibuster materialize? Probably not, at least not one seriously aimed at killing the bill. Instead, concessions will be made that should guarantee forward progress on some amended form of the bill. . . . expect a deal to be struck that should eliminate the possibility of a successful filibuster that would actually prevent the bill from coming to a vote. And that’s what will matter to the Senate leadership.

That was David on the stimulus package showboating. But the same applies to nearly every other stoppage in the Senate before and since.

The Times-Mail, Johnsen’s hometown newspaper, indicated way back on July 25th (subs. req.) that DOJ spokesperson Matt Miller was confident Johnsen had the votes for confirmation on a press conference call. But hold yer horses, kids, because Government Executive says they don’t — although they fail to establish from which source they heard this since its anonymously dropped into the end of the article on breaking the GOP nominations logjam:

Dawn Johnsen, nominated to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, appears to lack the 60 votes to overcome GOP opposition and is not likely to have a confirmation vote soon. David Hamilton, nominated to be a circuit court judge in Indiana, faces a hold by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who said on Tuesday he has no plans to lift it.

Why do we continue to see this stalling tactic without an actual filibuster? Because it continues to work.

OLC: Grand Obstruction Party Still Obstructing Dawn Johnsen’s Nomination

Listen my children and you shall hear, of the continued obstruction and gooberish fear…

The Grand Obstruction Party and weak-kneed Democratic leadership. Still at it:

Still unconfirmed are three circuit court nominees and four nominees for assistant attorney general positions, including Dawn Johnsen for the Office of Legal Counsel. Democrats need Republican agreement in order to move the nominees forward, unless they want to use days of time on the Senate floor.

And there it is, in a nutshell. 

What I’ve been hearing all along is that Johnsen does have the votes to get past cloture — with both Nelson and Specter intending to vote for cloture, regardless of their ultimate nomination vote.  So, what’s the hold-up in bringing this vote to the floor?

The lack of leadership willpower to expend political capital and Senate floor time to force it through.

In other words, the Democratic leadership will not go to the mattresses for these nominees and the GOP knows they are too weak to do it.

As David Waldman has patiently explained, time and time again, the mere threat of a filibuster-esque thought on a particular nominee or legislative whimsy is enough to send the Democratic leadership in the Senate off with a case of the immobilized vapors:

So do Republicans intend to filibuster the bill? Probably not in the sense that they want to see it killed, which means they’ll deny that they’re engaged in a filibuster, or even threatening one. But make no mistake, there is no reason why anything in the Senate requires 60 votes except to end a filibuster, whether one materializes out in the open or not. If the threat is that the bill’s opponents will force a 60 vote threshold unless they get an opportunity to change the bill, the threat is nothing other than a threat to filibuster.

Will a filibuster materialize? Probably not, at least not one seriously aimed at killing the bill. Instead, concessions will be made that should guarantee forward progress on some amended form of the bill. . . . expect a deal to be struck that should eliminate the possibility of a successful filibuster that would actually prevent the bill from coming to a vote. And that’s what will matter to the Senate leadership.

That was David on the stimulus package showboating.  But the same applies to nearly every other stoppage in the Senate before and since. (more…)

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