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March 28, 2005


Here's the scenario I fear: The Republican leadership want to get rid of the filibuster for judges but enough Republicans join the correct side and stand firm with the Democrats. Ok so what does the Leadership do? Gavel the Senate into session at 4 am with all their supporters. Cheney makes his ruling as fast as his broken heart can do so. Rule changed?

You might find this of interest:


Anything can happen -- for instance, TNH now remembers my personal info.

I'm not entirely sure what sorts of formal rules versus informal understandings govern unanimous consent agreements, or more importantly, agreements to honor another absent Senator's objection to unanimous consent, but if the Senate went into session at 4 a.m. with nobody around but supporters, I don't think they'd have to change the rules. They could just ask unanimous consent to consider the nomination and proceed immediately to a vote. There wouldn't be any need to wake Cheney.

But if they decided to change the rule, I guess they could do that, too. I'd have to dig through the rules and precedents a little bit to answer that one more thoroughly, though.

Once you get agreement from the chair that the rules that normally govern how the Senate may change its rules don't apply, however, I suppose all bets are off.

If I were Cheney I'd change the rule at 4am, because once I pulled a stunt like approving judges at 4am I'd expect the other side to have a Senator camped out in the chambers 24/7 thenceforth.

This sort of stuff is all fascinating, I appreciate the effort you put into writing it up.

Why can't the Democrats object to unanimous consent on the nuclear option?

I don't understand why they didn't object to unanimous consent on bankruptcy and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. What am I missing here? Are they worried that Sam Donaldson and David Broder will give them a stern lecture?

They can object, they just have to be there to do it. TealVeal is talking about a middle-of-the-night, no notice session.

As for the other things, unanimous consent is not the only way to bring a bill to the floor, it's just the preferred way. A majority vote can bring anything up for consideration.

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