John McCain (R-AZ)
14 Senators, from both sides of the ideological aisle, pulled together and found a solution to the Nuke-the-Constitutional Option. Idealogues on both the far-right and far-left are angry - as a declared and devout Centrist, I couldn't be more proud. This is what Centrism is: coming up with practical solutions to intracable problems.
On the right they're saying that the "principle and tradition of an up or down vote for judicial nominees" has been violated. This from the party that regularly blocked judges during the Clinton Presidency using such parlimentary tricks as the "Blue Slip Rule". Democrats have also been accused of ignoring principle by allowing the three most problematic judges, Janice Rogers-Brown, Pricilla Owen and William Pryor to be voted on tomorrow.
Amid all this the right of the minority to filibuster and block the most extreme of judges as been preserved, and all-in-all that is a good thing.
In Federalist #51 James Hamilton wrote:
In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself. Second. It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.In Summary, Hamilton Essay states:
Dividing power helps to check its growth in any one direction, but power cannot be divided absolutely equally. In the republican form of government, the legislative branch tends to be the most powerful. That is why the framers divided the Congress into two branches, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and provided for a different method of election in each branch. Further safeguards against legislative tyranny may be necessary.Yesterday, America was protected from this potential Tyranny of the Majorityby a plurality of 7 Republicans - Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island), Susan Collins (Maine), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), John McCain (Arizona), John Warner (Virginia) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) as well as 7 Democrats Robert Byrd (West Virginia), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut) , Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Mark Pryor (Arkansas) and Ken Salazar (Colorado) - who came together to work out an equitable compromise. In times of crisis it's not the extremist who will come forward will calm resolve and solutions - it's the Centrists who have the will to defy convention and even their own political fortunes to do what is best for the nation - and keep us all from falling off the cliff.
In a representative democracy it is not only important to guard against the oppression of rulers, it is equally important to guard against the injustice which may be inflicted by certain citizens or groups. Majorities often threaten the rights of minorities. There are only two methods of avoiding evil. The first is to construct a powerful government, a "community will." Such a "will' is larger than, and independent of, the simply majority. This "solution" is dangerous because such a government might throw its power behind a group in society working against the public good. In our country, the authority to govern comes from the entire society the people. In addition, under the Constitution society is divided into many groups of people who hold different views and have different interests. This makes it very difficult for one group to dominate or threaten the minority groups.