Sen. Kyl Threatens Filibuster of Court Nominations:

The Phoenix Buisness Journal reports that Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) warned that he would attempt to filibuster any Supreme Court nominations that he deemed too liberal.

Kyl, Arizona's junior senator, expects Obama to appoint judges in the mold of U.S Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and Stephen Breyer. Those justices take a liberal view on cases related to social, law and order and business issues, Kyl said.

"He believes in justices that have empathy," said Kyl, . . .

Kyl said if Obama goes with empathetic judges who do not base their decisions on the rule of law and legal precedents but instead the factors in each case, he would try to block those picks via filibuster. . . .

Kyl said Obama needs to appoint judges that look at the merits of each case and said filibusters were not inevitable, even for more liberal judges if their decisions have a sound legal basis.


As longtime VC readers know, I'm generally opposed to the obstruction of judicial nominees of either party. Even though Barack Obama, as a Senator, voted to filibuster several Bush nominations (including that of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court), I do not believe this justifies Republicans responding in kind.

While I oppose the filibuster of judicial nominees, one practical benefit of a Republican filibuster of an Obama nominee could be the end of judicial filibusters. If Republicans were able to hold their caucus together, perhaps Senate Democrats would be prompted to cut a deal promising to forego any judicial filibusters in the future. Alternatively, perhaps a GOP filibuster would prompt Senate Democrats to invoke the nuclear option, ending judicial filibusters once and for all. Indeed, I would feel better about any GOP filibuster threats if filibustering GOP senators would commit to voting to support the nuclear option if it were invoked. In this way, GOP Senators could maintain a principled opposition to the filibuster of judicial nominations without unilaterally disarming themselves against Senate Democrats (and a President) who have supported such filibusters in the past.