Tom Toles by Tom Toles

Tom Toles

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  1. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, about 3 years ago

    With hyper-partisanship and party discipline, perhaps the time has come to resort to simple majorities. There are no provisions for “virtual” filibusters and super-majority rules in the Constitution, and these rules were adopted a half-century ago when “liberal Republican” and “conservative Democrat” were not oxymorons.

    Another idea might be limiting judgeships in future to a set period: even if it were a single term of 20 years, it would mean that judges and justices would change with the times a little more often. In fairness to those presently in office, and to prevent too sudden a change by forcing retirement on a slew of judges who have been in more than 20 years, it might be necessary to have the term limit apply to only new appointments.

  2. Enoki

    Enoki said, about 3 years ago

    I think we should come back and visit this subject after the next election, particularly if the Republicans take control of the Senate…

  3. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, about 3 years ago

    Both parties would have to live with the consequences of any change in the rules. But having all checks and no balances is hardly an acceptable situation, either. Senators do at least represent whole states, and not cherry-picked gerrymandered districts. If the people choose a conservative president and elect a conservative senate, then they should get conservative judges. That’s democracy, that’s justice. And Churchill was right that democracy is terrible, but better than any other form of government.

    Those who accept that principle should be willing to accept it no matter which party is in power. Those who favor that principle only when their party is in power are hypocrites.

    On the other hand, a majority of Senators may easily represent a distinct minority of Americans. And we see the way partisanship leads those in power to rig the game in future rounds to favor their supporters at the expense of their opponents in order to hang onto power.

    The saddest part of this is that judicial appointment were rarely controversial until the last few decades. The rise of the power of judicial review (rarely exercised in the first 150 years of the supreme court), and gridlock in the congress, has so increased the power of the courts that judicial appointments have become as important to the governing of the country as elections. It was never supposed to be that way.

    We really need some radical reforms to make government more responsive to the people at large. Pity we have no consensus on what reforms would do that.

  4. wbr

    wbr said, about 3 years ago

    now bho can pack the court

  5. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, about 3 years ago

    If the GOP really believes that the change in rules is bad, as soon as they have the majority, they can reinstate the old rules. Let’s see a show of hand as to how many think that a GOP majority will do that!

  6. dtroutma

    dtroutma GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago

    The filibuster used to be a tool, and the rules required you to actually stand there and talk. Now it’s used by the Republicans on EVERY ACTION or ATTEMPTED ACTION, and is no longer a “tool”, but a bludgeon to drive a thumbtack. Go back to the old rules, or get rid of it.

  7. Wabbit

    Wabbit GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago


    what you said the the most reasonable and common-sense thing I’m likely to read all day.
    Well said, and thank you!

  8. Wabbit

    Wabbit GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago

    you are bringing in a discussion that has, for the most part, been on of the most adult levels I’ve ever seen poster. I have seen here. Usually this breaks into the the kind of partisan- and destructive type things like what you said in these last 2 or 3 posts.

  9. pirate227

    pirate227 said, about 3 years ago



  10. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, about 3 years ago

    I did not say that a Republican majority should revert to the old rule. I said that I did not expect them to, no matter how much they denounce the new rule as “the wrong thing to do.” They will take advantage of the new rule while continuing to condemn those who established it.

    Candidate Obama may have condemned the “nuclear option” but that was before the GOP began to abuse the virtual filibuster. I have no idea whether President Obama approves of what the Senate has now done. He did not make the change, the Senate did. But it is one of the qualities of wisdom to change one’s policies when circumstances change.

    I don’t know if this change in the rules was a good idea or not, in the long run. Time will tell. The old rule is not part of law and certainly not part of the Constitution. This new rule makes the Senate a more democratic institution, for better or for worse.

    In 1947 Churchill was quite right when he said “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

    And for the record: nothing is “all right” BECAUSE I think it is. Or because any ONE else thinks it is.

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