05/22/2005 01:04 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Filibuster and the Seven Dwarfs

Why all the fuss over seven judicial nominees? Isn't it time for the Democrats to drop all this nonsense and let the Senate get back to more important business? Sure, these seven nominees may irk the Democrats, but they're really not "worse" in any absolute sense than some other Bush nominees who have already slipped through the cracks. After all, these ojbections are only matters of degree. Is this matter sufficiently important to bring the Senate to the brink of disaster?

Yes, it is. This battle is not just about these seven nominees. It is about all the other nominations Bush may make in the next three years. If the Democrats do not stand up now to the administration's effort to transform the federal judiciary in its own ideological image, then the floodgates will open.

If the Democrats don't demonstrate now that they will not permit a president elected by less than 52% of the American people to dictate the ideology of 100% of our federal judges, then this administration will have a free-hand to remake the federal courts wholesale. No president has ever made ideology so central to his judicial nominations. Only if the Democrats establish that the president cannot ram his nominees through the Senate, will they have even a chance to moderate an administration that seems determined to impose its extreme ideology on our federal courts.

This is a traditional responsibility of the Senate minority. The Republicans are threatening to change the rules to enable them to run roughshod over legitimate opposition. This is an historic moment, and a dangerous one for the nation if the Republicans succeed.