Daily Kos has several interesting posts about the Estrada filibuster. Most telling: this is not, in fact, the first judicial appointee to be subject to such treatment; one of Lyndon Johnson's Supreme Court appointees was filibustered, with the acquiescence of Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen. Kos also notes the GOP two-step over the so-called "blue slip" provision--a courtesy that let a Senators blackball nominees from his or her own state. (CalPundit theorizes that this self-serving GOP reversal may have been what got the Democrats mad enough to filibuster Estrada in the first place.)
Once again, the GOP is whining about how this whole Estrada deal is political, and payback to the White House (let's also not forget that Estrada was on Bush's legal team that took Bush v Gore to the Supreme Court in 2000). I'm not necessarily denying that, but it's hardly the first time politics has tinged the nomination process (the favored Republican tactic during the Clinton years was to hold nominations up in committee, which is why citation of the GOP Senate's actual voting record is misleading at best). And anyway, I don't really have a problem with it. In fact, P.L.A. reminds Mr. Bipartisanship Bush that "you reap what you sow."
And anyway, given that this is politics, after all, once again I wonder why the GOP doesn't reserve some of its umbrage toward Mr. Bush. Bush's renomination of Estrada swiftly on the heels of the Senate's majority tilt was widely seen as an "in-your-face" move against the Democrats by Mr. Uniter Not A Divider. (Let's not forget, not caring whose toes he or his advisers steps on--even, now, the GOP Congress--in his attempts to get his way seems to be a Bush hallmark, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.) Perhaps if Bush had waited, Estrada's nomination would have stood a better chance. Repubicans may be peeved at the tactics that are causing them to lose this round, but let's not forget that Bush set the game clock. The GOP ire is not so much, I think that--gasp!--politics is being played as that this time they seem to be losing.
But while it's hard for me to muster much sympathy for those poor, beleagured Republicans, I do believe that this process is going to far. That's why I don't really think the precedent is all that bad--I think Presidents should get the Senate to advise and consent, and not merely rubber-stamp ideological appointments at the opportunity of a razor-thin majority. I am sure that the President and Senate--of whatever party--could work out a group of potential nominees that would minimize the kind of controversy we've been seeing. Yes, I think the chances of extreme ideologues--of either stripe--would be diminished. And no, I don't really have a problem with that, either.