• When Democrats ran the Senate from June 2001 to January 2003, they denied even a hearing before the Judiciary Committee to 32 of Mr. Bush’s nominees. When Republicans regained a 51-49 majority in the next Congress, Democrats broke the then-longstanding Senate norm of granting nominees an up-or-down vote. Before 2003, only one judicial nominee had been blocked with a filibuster, and that was the bipartisan 1968 rebellion against promoting the ethically challenged Justice Abe Fortas to Chief Justice.
Democrats applied the higher 60-vote standard to a rainbow coalition of Bush nominees, judging them not by traditional measures like experience or temperament or even “diversity.” They simply didn’t like their politics.
The targets included Priscilla Owen (a woman), Janice Rogers Brown (a black woman) and Miguel Estrada (a Hispanic). The 28-month Estrada filibuster was especially egregious because Democrats feared the smart young attorney’s ethnic background might make him formidable Supreme Court material if he served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• When Mr. Bush nominated Samuel Alito to the High Court in 2005, Democrats attempted to give him the same treatment. Some 25 Senators voted to support a filibuster, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden
, Hillary Clinton
, Harry Reid
, John Kerry
, Pat Leahy and Mr. Schumer.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest this week described Mr. Obama’s filibuster as merely a “symbolic vote” to protest Mr. Bush. He added that Mr. Obama “regrets the vote” because Democrats “shouldn’t have looked for a way to just throw sand in the gears of the process. And, frankly, looking back on it, the President believes that he should have just followed his own advice and made a strong public case on the merits.” No doubt he does—now.