City of Roses
The right to debate is really what is at stake in terms of the filibuster. The right to express both dialogue and dissent prior to nomination, which many have made an effort to eliminate that form of dissent.
It's certainly not true either that only within the last five years that the filibuster has been used or attempted to be used.
You speak of that the Democrats are nothing but confrontational, when over 60 judicial nominees during the Clinton era were blocked by the GOP Senate.
It was Frist himself who tried using the filibuster on Clinton's nominee of Richard Paez to the 9th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. For four years he was blocked, then Frist and others tried capping it off with a filibuster.
The same Frist who proposed the "nuclear option" and said at the Federalist Society last November that filibustering is "radical".
There was also the effort to filibuster of H. Lee Sarokin in 1994.
In addition, within Clinton's second term, twenty of his nominees were never granted access to Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
Plenty of times the GOP made an effort to filibuster prior to Bush's first term, including Frist, the man who says filibustering is radical and must be overcome yet it is OK to do it once on Paez.
And I certainly would have respected them doing it if they wanted to get additional information or discuss the nominee's credentials. That plainly wasn't the case much of the time.
Anyway, the point I am making is, we need to remember why it is that O'Connor has been, quite possibly, the most popular, admired Supreme Court Justice in our nation's history.
She had an esteemed independent voice which I believe most Americans yearn to see more of. She was more conservative in my mind, but she was inclusive to both sides in a non-partisan manner. One article I read made a good metaphor of it, she was the "rudder of the ship", and was a great independent thinker and probably has offered more consensus than any other justice at least within my lifetime.
And hey, I didn't like some of her decisions, like closing the 2000 vote when further votes and information hadn't been considered yet for instance. Nevertheless, my, how Reagen's instincts were right when he said, declaring her nomination in 1981, that she was "truly a person for all seasons, possessing qualities of temperament, fairness, intellectual capacity and devotion to public good."
When Rehnquist retires, I support a conservative to replace him to keep the balance going. But I believe the proper way to pay homage to O'Connor is to nominate someone who has that spirit of consensus. Someone who makes independent decisions rather than partisan decisions.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"