The Wall Street Journal on the Nuclear Option: 2005 vs. 2013

Today, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page decried the Democratic Senate's use of the "nuclear option" to end filibusters of presidential nominees, sniffing, "They view the minority as an inconvenience to be rolled." But... but you said before...

Via Media Matters, here is a Wall Street Journal editorial from Jan. 24, 2005:

It's been a long time coming, but we now have an approximate date for a confrontation in the Senate on judicial nominations. Majority Leader Bill Frist has announced that if Democrats filibuster the nominations he expects to bring to the floor next month, he'll take action. Finally...

Which brings us to the proposed change in Senate precedents that Democrats call the "nuclear option" to make it sound radical. If the Democrats filibuster again, Mr. Frist would ask for a ruling from the presiding officer that under Senate Rule XXII only a simple majority vote is required to end debate on judicial nominations. Assuming 51 Senators concur, the Senate would then proceed to an up-or-down floor vote on the nominee.

What this should really be called is the "majority-vote advice-and-consent" option. The aim is to restore the Founders' intent when they gave the Senate the responsibility of confirming or rejecting a President's judicial picks. The Constitution requires a simple majority vote and says nothing about a super-majority of 60 being needed to stop a filibuster.

To be fair, the paper now says that "The only way to deter bloody-minded Democratic behavior is to treat Democrats as they treat Republicans... The silver lining is that the end of the nominee filibuster will work for conservatives too." So they've clearly matured a great deal since 2005.

[Photo: Getty]