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Mon Dec 12, 2011, 08:19 PM

Nullification Lives: GOP Blocks Cordray - stopping the full enactment of a law


The Senate on Thursday took up the nomination of Richard Cordray, President Obamaís choice to lead the new consumer protection board. It did not vote to confirm him. The outcome isnít at all surprising. But itís important to take a step back and understand just what is happening here, because Republicans aren't simply weakening consumer protection. They're also weakening American democracy.

Remember, the Senate didnít actually vote on Cordrayís nomination. The vote never took place because the Republican caucus, with one exception, are supporting a filibuster the nomination. Together, they do not represent a majority. On the contrary, 53 senators voted to proceed with the vote. Had the vote taken place, a majority likely would have voted to confirm him. But thatís the way the Senate works today: The majority doesnít rule. The minority does.

If you think thatís a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the U.S. constitution, you are quite right. The document specifies instances when the president needs consent of a super-majority. Appointments like these are not among those instances.

But the reality actually even worse than it seems. The senators upholding the filibuster havenít suggested Cordray is unqualified for the job. Rather, they are holding up the nomination because they donít like the agency he would head or the law it is supposed to enforce Ė the Dodd-Frank Act, which is designed to police the banking and credit card agencies. Theyíve said, explicitly and repeatedly, they will allow a vote on Cordray only if and when the president agrees to changes in the law.

Nullifying Democracy - Campaign for America's Future

Before the episode recedes fully from the news, please read this item, by Jonathan Cohn on Thursday evening, about the extraordinary step the Senate Republicans took that day. Cohn says that the Republican minority's success in blocking a vote on Richard Cordray's nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau amounts to "nullification," quoting Thomas Mann of Brookings to the same effect. They are right. [As is David Weigel in Slate.]

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Reply Nullification Lives: GOP Blocks Cordray - stopping the full enactment of a law (Original post)
Bill USA Dec 2011 OP
ThoughtCriminal Dec 2011 #1

Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 08:23 PM

1. Two Words

Nuclear Option.

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