Well, the showdown over the so-called “nuclear option” in the Senate is over, averted by a last-minute compromise. It will be spun every which way, but it looks to me like Democrats managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory yet again. Republicans promise not to prohibit (by breaking Senate rules) filibusters of judicial candidates — for now, though Frist says, “all options remain” — and Dems promise only to filibuster in “extraordinary circumstances” (if these fruitloop judges aren’t extraordinary circumstances, what could be?). Democrats will allow Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, and Bill Pryor to pass through unobstructed.

All these judges should be regarded as nightmarish to anyone fond of the post-1930s federal apparatus, but Pryor in particular is a blow to the environment.

The only bright spot is that William G. Myers III has not been filibuster-proofed. Myers is, as Grist readers know, quite possibly the most anti-environment judge in the nation.

So: the Dems let some truly insane far-right judges through without filibuster. In exchange, they get to keep the theoretical right to filibuster — in “extraordinary circumstances” — until Republicans decide to take it away.

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The R’s held a gun to the D’s head and said, “give me all your money.” D’s gave them half their money and called it a compromise.

It’s a grim day for the environment and a grim day for the country.

(Read this story for a full rundown on Bush’s judicial nominees, and read this story for a principled argument on why the nuclear option is historically unprecedented and politically disastrous.)

Update [2005-5-23 22:25:0 by Dave Roberts]:: It makes me feel a little better that Mark Schmitt is resigned and James Dobson and Gary Bauer are furious. But only a little.

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