As I'm reading a bit about Senators Byrd and Warner making the case that the "advice" in "advice and consent" means, y'know, advice, I find myself wondering once again how Republicans can seriously claim that "advice" means a straight up-or-down vote; that's an awfully peculiar definition of "advice," and it's all the more peculiar when you consider that it's followed closely by "consent."
If a simple vote constitutes "advice," then what on earth would "consent" be, and does it require lubricant?
IMHO, everyone would be a lot better off if presidents - of both parties - began taking the "advice" part a little more seriously. Deeply-felt political convictions are a great thing to have in a president or congresscritter, but they're just about the last thing I want to see in a judge. We would be better served by a system that packs the judiciary with mushy moderates than one that depends on a more-or-less even balance between liberal and conservative extremists to keep the rest of the government in check, which is where I believe a post-nuclear world (whether de facto or de jure) takes us.
The only problem with the "advice" approach is that the first side to employ it would feel they were unilaterally disarming by countering reliable extremists with unpredictable moderates who could swing either way. Of course, since the Republicans have majorities on almost every court, they should have the least to lose by going first, and think what a fine, courageous, non-activist example they would be setting!
Now, where the hell is that bridge I bought? I didn't even get a UPS tracking number or anything...