The Debate Must Go On Until Miranda Is Satisfied

Today, Manuel Miranda took to the pages of The American Spectator to decry all the misinformation surrounding his Third Branch Conference’s call for a filibuster of Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination.

Miranda insists that he and his are not calling for an “obstructive filibuster” of the sort Democrats used against George W. Bush’s nominees but rather a “traditional filibuster” that would allow for a “spectacular” debate that will allow the GOP to stake out and explain its position on the issue of judicial philosophy:

Republican opportunity for statecraft is in ensuring that debates on the Senate floor are not business-as-usual, but rather an inspired effort to highlight the issues that both define and divide us as a people. Even Republican senators who vote to confirm the judge can sound an alarm by explaining the risk of any more justices influenced by bias.

The emphasis is not on time. A great debate does not have to be long. But it should be spectacular; enough to illuminate what is at stake. We have seen such effort from Republicans before. It is possible.

The only thing missing from this is any sort of explanation of just what differentiates an “obstructive” filibuster from a “traditional” filibuster.  Miranda and company insist that they merely want to ensure that Republican Senators have enough time to make their “spectacular” case and that, when they are finished, a vote on Sotomayor’s confirmation will be granted.

But how long exactly this “debate” should last is completely unknown.  Do they need several hours, or several days, or several weeks?  Having some sense of just how long these right-wing activists expect Republican Senators to be given to make their case before allowing a floor vote on the nomination would be a useful thing to know.  

But, as it stands now, nobody has any idea about how much time Miranda thinks is necessary, leaving us to assume that he simply wants Republicans to just drag out the process for some indeterminate length until such a time as considers himself satisfied that a proper debate has been had. 

And, of course, it’s pretty safe to predict that whatever amount of time Republicans are given to “debate” this nomination, it will be deemed unsatisfactory by the likes of Miranda and company, which will in turn justify their demand to hold up Sotomayor’s nomination.  And all the while, they will be claiming that they are merely engaging in a “traditional” filibuster while they, in actuality, actively obstruct her confirmation.

It is entirely possible that we will see Miranda and his Senate allies eventually calling for an “obstructive” filibuster of Sotomayor’s nomination and justifying it by claiming that they were denied an opportunity to carry out their “traditional” filibuster of her nomination.