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November 2013

Some perspective on the Democrats' "need" for the nuclear option

From John Lott.

But this is all political rhetoric; the complaints are exaggerated. In fact, George W. Bush suffered stiffer resistance and longer delays for his nominees than Obama. Bush’s nominees to the DC Circuit faced confirmations dragging on for 707 days on average, with one particular nomination (Brett ­Kavanaugh) dragging on past 1,000 days. By contrast, Patricia Millett was nominated on June 4 this year and obtained a vote by the Senate just 149 days later, on Oct. 31; Pillard, 161 days; Wilkins, 167 days; and Caitlin Halligan, 433 days. Earlier this year, the Senate confirmed Obama’s nomination of Sri Srinivasan for the DC Circuit after a 346-day wait.

See also Mike Munger, "Mourning Becomes Electra".

The U.S. is NOT a democracy, if by democracy you mean simple majority rule.  The dodge that "no, it's a republic" is true enough, but the real point is that many of our institutions are explicitly designed to prevent majorities from imposing their will.