THE BLOG
11/19/2013 05:50 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Republicans in Congress Snub the Gettysburg Address

On this 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the real snub comes not, as Fox News claims, from President Obama for not attending the ceremony, but from Republicans in Congress who have made a mockery of the democratic principle Lincoln proclaimed that day.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

By blocking all four of President Obama's nominees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Republicans are ignoring the will of the people who decisively reelected the president and share his beliefs. And what makes their filibuster of these highly qualified nominees so repugnant is that they admit that their opposition has nothing at all to do with their expertise and opinions. It is simply to prevent the president from filling the three vacant positions with judicial candidates who will tilt the court in a more liberal direction.

And last month's Republican filibuster of the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency was the first time since the Civil War that a sitting member of Congress had his presidential nomination blocked by the Senate.

The most glaring example of tyranny by the minority played out during the recent government shutdown, which was caused by the demands of barely two dozen Republican congressmen, egged on by Senator Ted Cruz, to defund the Affordable Care Act in exchange for keeping the government running.

And not only are Republicans abusing the "advise and consent" clause in the Constitution to prevent the will of the majority of Americans to be heard, but due to partisan gerrymandering (practiced by both parties), these congressmen do not even accurately reflect the opinions of the residents of their own states.

The truly democratic solution to Republican obstructionism is to give the president the power to choose all judicial and other appointments, except those that carry lifetime terms. This, of course, will equally apply the next time there is a Republican president.

The next best step is to change the Senate rules immediately, to a 40-vote requirement to continue debate and have a vote. This is not a nuclear option. It is a democratic necessity, if we are to keep our government of the people, by the people and for the people.