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Oh, so filibusters are bad now?

Monday, December 21, 2009; A18

E.J. Dionne Jr. ["Democratic fratricide," op-ed, Dec. 17] views the Senate as a "dysfunctional and undemocratic partisan hothouse," presumably because of the ability of 41 senators to prevent a bill from coming to a final vote.

Mr. Dionne has not always taken such a dim view of undemocratic procedures, however.

In 2003, he heartily approved of Democratic obstruction of two judicial nominations by President Bush: "The filibuster is the only way to prevent the president from creating a federal judiciary dominated by ideologues of his own persuasion, appointed to satisfy his political base" ["Order and the Courts," op-ed, May 9].

If a filibuster was justified merely to keep two conservatives off the bench, why should it not be used by senators who believe that the health-care bill would be a disaster for the country?

Richard L. Lobb, Fairfax

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