Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Confusion over last Sunday's Candorville?

At the RACS(rec.arts.comics.strips) newsgroup, there's a little confusion over the numbers I used in last Sunday's cartoon:



Just a couple of thoughts.

The first is that Darrin's comic attempts to make it seem like Republicans filibuster all the time and Democrats rarely filibuster. I'm sure that isn't the case.

The second is that he is making selective use of statistics. He appears to be comparing the 7 Appellate Court nominees being blocked at the present time with some larger number of nominees that have been confirmed. I'm not sure, but he may be including cabinet members and ambassadors in the mix as well.

Mr. Bush has had 32 Appellate Court nominees returned from the US Senate. (Seven of those returned were nominated by Mr. Clinton in an unprecedented maneuver, so technically, the number of Mr. Bush's Appellate Court nominees stands at 25.)

The following site has links to the government's source documents for statistics on Appellate Court nominations for the last 50 years or so. He has also summarized things nicely so that the pattern of confirmations pops right out.

http://dalythoughts.com/index. php?p=2983

The fact is that the percentage of appellate court nominees that have made it through the nomination process has been steadily declining since Mr. Reagan's Presidency. If you check the numbers, you will find that both parties have been playing games with nominations in the final year of each President's term in office.

I'm sure there's a story to be told on the subject. I'm just not sure that Mr. Bell has found it.
My response (pasted here from the newsgroup):

I was relying on the following sources (newspaper articles, mostly). If the sources were incorrect, I apologize for not digging deeper. These sources stated (as did Sunday's Candorville cartoon) that Bush had sent 215 "judicial appointees" to Congress, and of those 205 had been confirmed (today I think the number would be 207). The cartoon used the generality, "judicial nominees". I'm not sure why Dann restricts the argument to appellate court nominees. I did not make a distinction between "appellate court nominees" and other judicial nominees because, unless I'm missing something, the Republicans in the Senate are not making that distinction. They are arguing that "judicial nominees" - IN GENERAL - should not be subject to the filibuster.

The cartoon may have indeed been stronger had I included more examples of Democratic filibusters, but the point of the cartoon is not just that this is a tradition in the Senate, but that the Republican claims to the contrary are specious (and, since they should know better, hypocritical). To that end, I weighted it with examples of Republican filibusters (including an imaginary one as the punchline).

My sources:

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"Democrats have blocked 10 of Bush's 215 judicial nominees through filibuster threats, contending they were too far to the right to be fair judges; 205 have been confirmed."
CNN

"Since his election, Bush has had 205 of his 215 judicial nominations confirmed by the Senate, a confirmation rate of 95 percent."
-Louisville Courier-Journal

"Chuck Colson, you first. The president has submitted 215 judicial nominees; 205 -- that's 205 out of 215 -- have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. How can you say that the president is not getting a fair shake? "
-Chris Matthews, Hardball

"That's right, the Senate has confirmed 95 percent of President Bush's judicial nominees -- 205 of 215, with some still awaiting action. In little more than one term, President Bush has appointed 24 percent of all active federal judges and 20 percent of all Circuit Court judges. Republican appointees outnumber Democratic appointees on 10 of the country's 13 appeals courts."
-Charlotte News & Observer opinion piece


"Since Bush has been in office, he has made 215 judicial nominations and the Senate has confirmed 205 of them. Ten, including Owen and Brown, failed to win confirmation because of Democratic filibusters."
PoliticalNews.org
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