51% is too low a requirement to confirm Judges

We’re talking about a lifetime position here. And the only requirement to pass confirmation is a bare majority in the Senate.

Theoretically, we could be in a situation where 50 Senators are adamantly opposed to a nominee and hate his guts, 50 are in favor based on party lines, and the Vice President breaks the tie. Is that truly enough considering that this person could be on the bench for decades to come?

There’s filibusters of course, but the majority party that truly wants to get its way can eliminate them if they want.

Perhaps if we had a 60% (3/5ths) requirement written into the text of the Constitution, whoever is President at the time will be forced to come up with a consensus nominee instead of picking whoever he wants and expecting/getting a rubber stamp from the Senate.

Upon what basis have you decided that being moderate enough, or disingenuous enough, to not offend a majority of senators is the ideal barometer for selecting a federal judge? Personally, I would prefer more accomplished and impassioned legal scholars to a neverending succession of men and women who pretend (either through inclination or advice) that they have never spent a moment’s time considering the most hotly contested legal questions of our time. The present system of confirmation just about demands that a condidate possess one or more of three qualities that are among the last I would hope to find in a judge: ignorance, apathy, or dishonesty.

If one vote can choose a President, I fail to see why a judge can’t be confirmed by one vote.

This is not to say your proposal is a bad one, just that in my opinion the “51%” makes sense within the context of our system. A single tie-breaking vote in Congress can elect the President. If you wanted to overhaul majority rule on a larger scale, I think that’d be more cohesive.

Yeah, lets overhaul majority rule. If 49.9% of the people think you’d be a bad judge, probably you’d be a bad judge. If 49.9% of the people think something would be a bad law, probably it would be a bad law. I submit a 60% super majority required to both confirm judges and pass laws. You could repeal a law with only a 50% majority.

You’re aware of how many votes it takes to declare war, right? I’m not sure I buy the argument that confirming a judge for one of something like 800 seats on the Federal bench should be more difficult than sending out country to war.

60% to enact a law, but only 50% to repeal the same law? What’s your reasoning for that? I’m not condemning the idea, just curious about why you like it and how you think it might play out?

I agree with Spiritus (and hey! Spiritus!), especially as regards the Supreme Court. I think the Court is best-off when it has articulate and intelligent Justices representing a wide jurisprudential spectrum. This is not to say that people with “extreme” theories like Richard Epstein or Ronald Dworkin would necessarily be beneficial, but I do think that someone who’s thought deeply about the law, whether their jurisprudence is liberal or conservative, is to be preferred over someone whose record is so sparse or views so bland that they’re universally accepted as a decent-but-not-great choice for the bench.

For lower courts, I’d argue that Blalron’s proposal might make better sense.

The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee managed to block nominations just fine with a minority when Clinton was in office. Why not just constitutionalize Hatch’s blue slip practices from Clinton’s Administration? :wink:


Because Hatch (along with a majority of Congress) won’t constitutionalize it. While Hatch was a huge fan of the Blue Slip policy when a Democrat was submitting the names, he’s a lot less enamored of it now that it can be used against a Republican President’s nominees.

Note: while I’m assuming you were being sarcastic, and rightfully so, I thought I’d clarify the issue in case someone thinks that Hatch is going to allow a single Democrat to block a nominee.

I was absolutely being sarcastic. Now that his president is in office, Hatch changed the rules and is not about to change them back.

The previous link and this one suggest, Hatch’s use of the blue slip procedure was nothing more than a disingenuous power grab. And everybody knows it.