Right Wing News Talks To Senator Sam Brownback About The Filibuster Deal That Was Cut Last Night

This morning, I did an interview via phone with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The full interview will be going live on Tuesday of next week, but since everybody is talking about the judicial filibuster deal that was cut last night, I thought I should go ahead and release that part of the interview now. The transcript of the relevant portion of our conversation is below:

John Hawkins: From what I’m seeing out there in the blogosphere, there’s an enormous amount of anger at this deal that was cut with the Democrats on judges. Right now, a lot of conservatives seem to see this as a deal that keeps Republicans from using the constitutional option while allowing Democrats to filibuster at will and call it “extraordinary circumstances.” Do you agree with that?

Sam Brownback: Well, we did not pull the constitutional option off, that’s still available. It seems to me that you had a few people, but enough, structure a deal that puts the fight off until the Supreme Court battle. That’s basically what took place.

John Hawkins: In your opinion, would a partisan filibuster under just about any circumstances kill the deal and lead to the constitutional option being used?

Sam Brownback: That would be my sense at this point in time. We have been working on this for 5 years now, to get judges through on a simple majority instead of a super majority which has been required by the Democrats. At this point in time, if they filibuster anybody then we move right back into the same mode to move this to a 51 vote margin.

John Hawkins: The deal that was cut on judicial filibusters: in your mind, good deal, bad deal? Would you prefer to have gone nuclear or do you think we’re better off with the deal that was cut?

Sam Brownback: I’m still digesting that point. I was ready to move forward. It seemed to me that it was time to move forward. We had showed every restraint, every caution. We had worked closely with the Democrats to move these (judges) forward. A number of these judges had been waiting 4 years. It was time to move forward and to get this done…

It seemed like we would have a cleaner case and set-up for a Supreme Court nominee had we moved on through and that was probably the thing that actually secured the deal with a number of the Democrats not to allow us to exercise the constitutional option.

John Hawkins: Now I notice the deal pretty much explicitly tosses William Myers and Henry Saad over the side. What about the other two judges (Brett Kavanaugh and William J. Haynes)? There were a couple who weren’t mentioned as getting votes, who were sort of left out of the deal. Have you heard any word on what’s going to happen to them?

Sam Brownback: I have not. My guess is that the leadership is going to go ahead and bring them up and see if we can move them on through.

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