QUITTING BEFORE THE FIGHT BEGINS….I’m going to try not to blog much about the Supreme Court until Bush actually nominates someone. I figure we’re already in for many weeks of unrelieved grimness anyway, so why make it worse?

But this is pretty astonishing. Both Republican and Democratic senators are now saying that no matter how extreme a nominee Bush picks, no filibuster is justified:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of the 14 signers [of the filibuster agreement], noted that the accord allowed the confirmation of three Bush appellate court nominees so conservative that Democrats had successfully filibustered them for years: Janice Rogers Brown, William H. Pryor Jr. and Priscilla R. Owen. Because Democrats accepted them under the deal, Graham said on the Fox program, it is clear that ideological differences will not justify a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.

“Based on what we’ve done in the past with Brown, Pryor and Owen,” Graham said, “ideological attacks are not an ‘extraordinary circumstance.’ To me, it would have to be a character problem, an ethics problem, some allegation about the qualifications of the person, not an ideological bent.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), a leader of the seven Democratic signers, largely concurred. Nelson “would agree that ideology is not an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ unless you get to the extreme of either side,” his spokesman, David DiMartino, said in an interview.

Sheesh. So the “moderate” Graham says absolutely anything goes, and his Democratic counterpart pretty much agrees in advance: Janice Rogers Brown now represents the acceptable preapproved limit of judicial wingnuttery. That’s some sharp strategerizing, Ben.

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