Carl Tobias

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Emory L. J. Online


Senators vigorously dispute the Thurmond Rule's meaning in the 2016 presidential election year. The Rule is a peculiar tradition. The party not controlling the White House systematically invokes the custom during presidential election years to halt judicial designees' consideration until November with the hope that its standard bearer prevails and, thus, can appoint jurists. This year, Senators Grassley and McConnell characterized the tenet as 'flexible,' while Grassley declared that nominee confirmations generally end at the summer recess. Because confusion plagues definition of the stricture, and the Rule's incessant use dramatically exacerbates the vacancy crisis, its perpetuation merits scrutiny. Chronic partisanship attends the Thurmond Rule's deployment. The chamber needs to abolish the Rule, or at least codify and confine the approach within the Senate rules until a clear majority who favors abrogation emerges.

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