Josh Marshall on the Nuclear Option

“You can think the filibuster is a terrible idea. And you may think that it should be abolished, as indeed it can be through the rules of the senate. And there are decent arguments to made on that count. But to assert that it is unconstitutional because each judge does not get an up or down vote by the entire senate you have to hold that the United States senate has been in more or less constant violation of the constitution for more than two centuries.

For all the chaos and storm caused by this debate, and all that is likely to follow it, don’t forget that the all of this will be done by fifty Republican senators quite knowingly invoking a demonstrably false claim of constitutionality to achieve something they couldn’t manage by following the rules.

This is about power; and, to them, the rules quite simply mean nothing.(Talking Points Memo)

The top ten filibuster falsehoods

“With Senate debate on two of President Bush’s most controversial judicial nominees beginning May 18, the heated rhetoric over the so-called ‘nuclear option’ to ban Senate filibusters on judicial nominations has reached its boiling point. The rules of the Senate thus far remain intact, filibuster opponents have pulled all rhetorical stops, advancing numerous falsehoods and distortions, and, as Media Matters documents below, the media have too often perpetuated that misinformation by unskeptically, and sometimes even deliberately, repeating it.”

Causation and Counterfactuals

Metapsychology Online Book Reviews: “Causation, it seems, is absolutely central. We will need to understand causation itself if we are to understand either causal theories in philosophy or the nature of the surrounding world.

Working through the papers in Causation and Counterfactuals will help us with this. The volume consists in eighteen cutting edge papers (twelve new, six previously published) by the best people in the field, as well as an editors’ introduction. Most are devoted to one leading view of causation — the counterfactual view. Hume articulated the basic idea this way: ‘we may define a cause to be an object followed by another . . where, if the first object had not been, the second never had existed.’ (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section VII)”