Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Abe Fortas filibuster lie

CNN's attempt to show purported GOP hypocrisy in filibustering of judicial nominees:
In 1968, a Republican filibuster kept Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas from rising to the chief justice position and eventually forced him to resign from the court.
That's the lie (now being reported as fact) peddled by the left and by CNN (forgive the redundancy).
What really happened with Abe Fortas? Fortas lost support due to revealed knowledge that he had given inaccurate information to the Judiciary Committee.

When the Senate Judiciary Committee revealed that Fortas received a privately funded stipend, equivalent to 40 percent of his Court salary, to teach an American University summer course, Senator Dirksen (Illinois Republican who brokered Republican support to break the Democrat filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act) and others withdrew their support. Although the committee recommended confirmation, floor consideration sparked the first filibuster in Senate history on a Supreme Court nomination. And it was a BIPARTISAN filibuster!

Fortas was filibustered for possible corruption, which was probably unnecessary since he likely would have been voted down anyway. Plus, he was already a Supreme Court Justice who was being nominated for the Chief Justice spot.

This filibuster can't be used by the left (at least not accurately, but they rarely let facts get in the way of good MSM-carried sound bites). Three main differences with Fortas' filibuster and those used by Senate liberals today:

1. Fortas had a bipartisan filibuster. Today's are only by one party...the one that keeps losing elections.
2. Fortas had done something illegal or at least appeared improper and unethical. None of Bush's nominees has been accused of such.
3. Fortas was not denied a Supreme Court position, since he already had one. Bush's future nominees for the Supreme Court will no doubt be filibustered for that court.

There. That oughta put that liberal lie to rest.