My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


I Don't See This As Optional For A GOP Senator

Also from the WashTimes:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist does not have firm support among his caucus to employ the so-called "nuclear option" for dislodging the Democratic filibusters against President Bush's judicial nominees.

Of the 55 Republicans in the chamber, at least six are undecided or adamantly opposed to the plan of using the rare parliamentary procedure to end the filibusters with a simple majority vote, rather than the 60 votes normally required.

The article goes on to cite two GOP Senators firmly against--Snowe of Maine and Chaffee of Rhode Island (no surprises there). It then notes six Senators as either "unknowns" or as "undecideds": Hagel of Nebraska, McCain of Arizona, Warner of Virginia, Voinovich of Ohio, Cochran of Mississippi, and Sununu of New Hampshire. Of these six, four are from firmly red states: Hagel, McCain, Warner and Cochran. I would expect it would be fairly easy to pressure them into getting on board, given their states' support of this President. The other two, Voinovich and Sununu, are from weak states, and the President's ability to pressure them seems pretty limited.

But it shouldn't matter. If the red-staters come along, that would give Frist 51 votes to do the rules change, and that would be plenty. Even if McCain jumps the fence, 50 votes plus Cheney should get the job done.

The problem is that stories like this give the Democrats encouragement. I thought I had perceived an unwillingness on the part of the Dems to maintain their filibusters given the strength of the GOP caucus on this issue. You know this story has to have the Dem leadership huddling to consider how to keep the nominations bottled up.

I think the trick might actually be to pressure red-state Dems (ahem, Mr. Salazar) to forego the filibuster in the hopes that this would never have to come to pass. At any rate, I'm less confident of getting judges now than I was yesterday.

Which is troubling, given the recent string of bad jurisprudence.

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