When the momentum for filibuster reform was behind him, Reid traded it away for a promise from the Republicans to act responsibly in the future. This, despite the Republicans' long record of extracting concessions in return for promises that are never kept. As I pointed out at the time, despite the Democrats' crowing about what a great victory they had won, in fact they had given up the chance to permanently block the un-American refusal of Republicans to do their duty, in return for three or four nominations being approved.
Well, here we are, right where any sentient political observer knew we would be:
"All signs are pointing to a total filibuster by Republicans of President Obama's three nominees—Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, Robert Wilkins—to the critical Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the influential court responsible for setting precedent in cases involving federal agency actions. It's second only to the Supreme Court in import for decisions.
This is the court that Republicans have deemed too inconsequential to deserve a full complement of 11 judges, speciously arguing that the court just isn't busy enough that the three current vacancies there need to be filled.
“It’s way overstaffed,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), (a) Judiciary Committee member, told TPM on Thursday. “It does not need these judges, and we don’t have the money.”
We don't have the money to fund the nation's preeminent appeals court. We have the money to subsidize the oil industry and agribusiness, to bail out Wall Street, to conduct futile foreign wars, but we don't have enough money to pay for three judges. This argument is not even laughable- it is spitting in the face of decent human beings.
Now, let me say what this battle is really about. This court, which hears most of the important and wide-reaching Federal cases, has, thanks to Republican pressure, for years been heavily tilted toward Conservative (i.e. corrupt) judges who take every opportunity to rule in favor of corporations and the rich. Now, due to retirements, the court is split 4-4, with three vacancies. The Republicans will do anything to prevent the court returning to a reasonable political balance. So, their goal is to prevent any Democratic President from appointing any judge to this court. Then some (perhaps imaginary, the way they are going) future Republican President can appoint three more right wing tools to the court, insuring that the control of the country by the rich is not broken.
Against this ugly agenda, Harry Reid has nothing to offer but unkept promises to do something meaningful, and a shameful record of letting the bad guys have their way. How can we expect things to be any different this time?
And thus, the rule of the bullies and thugs, the corrupt and criminal, will continue unabated.