Today in BushGreenWatch, Doug Kendall of the Community Rights Council — which, along with Earthjustice, has been fighting a campaign to highlight the environmental stakes of the judicial battles — argues that the nuclear-option deal "may help the environment."
Or at least that’s the headline. I don’t see much in his essay that backs up his position. Maybe he’s putting an optimistic spin on things because his organization’s taken a high-profile position on it, but still, it’s a pretty meager argument.
The "landmark victory," he claims, is that Dems can still, if they choose, filibuster the appointment of William Myers III, who is indeed bad news. We let three loony, anti-environment judges onto the bench, but retain the option to block one, and this is a "landmark victory"?
This is even weaker:
… the deal takes the nuclear option off the table, stating “In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress.”
No. It doesn’t take the option "off the table." It says the Republicans won’t use it as long as Dems reserve their filibusters for "extraordinary circumstances." But Dems have approved almost all of Bush’s judges — if the five remaining fruitloops don’t constitute extraordinary circumstances, I don’t see what ever will.
In the end, what you think about the deal rests on what you think would have happened if R’s had pulled the trigger, Dems had ground Senate business to a halt, and the whole thing had gone before the court of public opinion. I think the Dems could have won that battle, with some canny messaging. Maybe not. But the deal just postpones the fight and weakens the Dems’ position. Come Supreme Court appointment time, the fight will happen anyway.