Back When Kennedy Thought the Senate Should Work With the President

Hearing the announcement of Teddy Kennedy (Blowhard-Mass.) that he was joining the junior Massachusetts blowhard in his plan to filibuster the Alito nomnination reminded me of something Kennedy said during the Clinton years.

Back in those days, Democrats were routinely screaming at Republicans for their "mistreatment" of President Clinton’s judicial nominees. They claimed to hate the delay tactics of the GOP and demanded votes on judges. And they urged Republicans to work with the President, not against him. These same Democrats, just a couple years later, turned around and blocked Bush’s nominations.

For example, Kennedy said this on Sept. 21, 1999:

Many of us have been concerned about the Senate’s continuing delays in acting on President Clinton’s nominees to the federal courts . . . . This kind of partisan, Republican stonewalling is irresponsible and unacceptable. It’s hurting the courts and it’s hurting the country. . . . The continuing delays are a gross perversion of the confirmation process that has served this country well for more than 200 years. When the Founders wrote the Constitution and gave the Senate the power of advice and consent on Presidential nominations, they never intended the Senate to work against the President.

Lest you think Kennedy simply slipped here, he repeated this sentiment on March 7, 2000:

Over 200 years ago, the Framers of the Constitution created a system of checks and balances to ensure that excessive power is not concentrated in any branch of government. The President was given the authority to nominate federal judges with the advice and consent of the Senate. The clear intent was for the Senate to work with the President, not against him, in this process.

Such a Democratic cry for cooperation with the President on judicial nominations is about the only thing I miss about the days of Clinton.