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12/14/2004

Kay Daly & Manny Miranda

I missed the American Prospect's November bio on Kay Daly, head of the astroturf organization Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. Her arguments are a leading indicator of GOP strategy on judicial nominations - when she levels a charge, we can be sure that other Republicans will soon follow suit.

My favorite aspect of the story is her involvement in Hackergate. Whatever happened to old Manny Miranda, memo thief extraordinaire?

We know what's going on with the plan he drew up:

Alexander Bolton, Getting Ready for Court Fight, The Hill, 12/1/04: Republican battle lines are similar to those drawn up in summer 2003, when many believed Rehnquist or Justice Sandra Day O’Connor would announce their retirement. That strategy was drafted by Manuel Miranda, who was Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) senior aide on judicial strategy.

Bill Wichterman, who heads coalition outreach for Frist, took on judicial confirmation planning for Frist at the beginning of this year.

Under the Miranda plan, as soon as Bush nominated a justice, Republicans and conservatives would issue press releases pre-emptively to deflect liberal efforts to define the nominee. Conservative groups would issue their own information packets while selected Republican senators would make statements and floor speeches.

While the nomination was reviewed in committee, Republican senators would speak publicly to counter expected negative coverage by newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Once the nomination reached the Senate floor, the majority leader and majority whip would take over and mobilize the entire conference behind the nominee. The 40-hour debate that Republican senators staged on the Senate floor at the end of 2003 was a trial run for this battle.

Outside groups would also be involved. Organizations such as Coalition for a Fair Judiciary would handle grassroots work while The Federalist Society would provide substantive arguments for use in Senate and media debates.

The business community would be expected to fund the communications campaign.
He's apparently still giving interviews on judicial nominations, including a bit of strategy in the odious Human Events, 11/19/04:
At least four scenarios exist for halting the filibusters, said Manuel Miranda, former counsel to both Frist and Hatch on judicial nominations. Since leaving the Senate in February, Miranda has criticized the Democrat obstructionism, which was documented in a series of memos highlighting the influence of liberal interest groups on nominees.

Frist's attempt to reach an accord with Democrats might be remote, but it's a starting point, Miranda said. After that, Frist might consider something similar to the proposal he offered in 2003 with Sen. Zell Miller (D.-Ga.), which would have gradually lowered the number of votes need to invoke "cloture" and force a final vote on a nominee.

Then there's the so-called "nuclear option," which would require 51 supportive senators to be present on the Senate floor when the GOP makes a motion on the interpretation of Senate Rule XXII, Miranda said. The presiding officer would then confirm that only a simple majority is needed to confirm a nominee.

The final option, and the most unlikely, according to Miranda, involves rewriting the Senate rules themselves at the beginning of the 109th Congress. Former Vice Presidents Richard Nixon (R), Hubert Humphrey (D) and Nelson Rockefeller (R), while serving in their capacity as Senate president, agreed that the Senate could change its rules at the start of its new session.

"I support the constitutional option, I support a rule change, I support elimination of the unconstitutional filibuster by any legal means," said Cornyn, the Texas senator.

Until the GOP formulates its strategy, Frist plans to maintain a certain degree of "civility" toward his Democrat colleagues, he said at Wednesday's press briefing. At the same time, however, he said the Republicans strongly believe the filibuster is wrong.

"We have constitutional duty to give advice and consent," Frist said. "That's our constitutional duty. That is shared by every member of our caucus because that's what our responsibility is. We feel as a caucus we have been denied that opportunity in the last Congress for the first time in history."
I'm pretty sure he should be in jail.

 

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