OpinionMeister

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Real Nail Biter

The Associated Press reports that it is still too close to call if a vote is held this week to ban judicial filibusters. Link.
Both sides in the debate over Senate filibusters of judicial nominees claim to have enough support to prevail on a vote to ban the practice, even as the parties’ leaders acknowledge that several Republicans senators they are courting have yet to commit.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., intends this week to call up for a vote the nominations of judges Priscilla Owen of Texas and Janice Rogers Brown of California. President Bush nominated both for the federal bench during his first term, but they and five others were blocked by Democrats. Bush renominated all seven judges this year.

Should Democrats move this week to block Brown and Owen, and Republicans fail to break a filibuster, Frist would call for the Senate to vote on whether to ban use of filibusters against judicial nominees.

Both sides said Sunday they had the votes to prevail, including having support from across the aisle.

Another possibility exists. If five Democrats decide that it is more important to maintain the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, expected later this year, they can vote for closure, and no rule change will be voted on. If the Republicans cannot force an up-or-down vote an all judicial nominees, they do not deserve to be in the majority. Why do we need a Republican majority if the Democrats can call all of the shots.

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