Friday, December 31, 2004

Jim Haynes As a Stalking Horse In Torturegate

Jim Haynes As a Stalking Horse In Torturegate:
Why President Bush Renominated Him for A Federal Appellate Judgeship
Friday, Dec. 31, 2004
Recently, President Bush renominated twelve men and women whom he had previously nominated for federal appellate court judgeships. During Bush's first term, the Senate had refused to confirm any of the twelve - and had filibustered the nominations of seven. Now, Bush has asked the Senate to think again.
Bush is not the first president to resubmit judicial nominees. But he is the first to re-nominate seven who were blocked by Senate filibusters.
What is the thinking behind Bush's in-your-face strategy? I believe it is intended to test Senate Democrats in several ways - one obvious, and one much less so.
The first test is this: Will Democrats filibuster again - and risk having Republicans invoke the so-called "nuclear option" of rewriting the rules so a filibuster can be overridden? (I described this option in an earlier column.) If so, Democrats have opted to play a high-stakes game that could forever change the nomination process.
The second, subtler test is this: Will Democrats continue to oppose William J. "Jim" Haynes, currently the general counsel of the Department of Defense, to the point of filibustering his nomination if necessary?
It is the Haynes matter on which I will concentrate in this column....