Monday, October 31, 2005

Will the Senate go nuclear over Alito?

Frist says he'll lead the charge against the Dems for Alito, even if it means going nuclear.

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)-[off the wire, no link]-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said in an interview on Fox News Monday he won't hesitate to use the so-called "nuclear option" to force a vote on President George W. Bush's latest Supreme Court nomination.

Bush earlier Monday nominated conservative judge Samuel Alito to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court after his first nominee, Harriet Miers, withdrew last week.

Democrats, pointing to Alito's rulings that sought to restrict a woman's right to abortion, have threatened to block the nomination from being voted on in the Senate, where the Republicans have the majority of votes.

But if Democrats try to block it by using a filibuster, a tactic used to keep the Senate from closing debate and voting, Frist said he would revive a bid to change the Senate rules to disallow filibusters for judicial appointments.

"If a filibuster comes back, I'm not going to hesitate to employ the constitutional option to get an up-or-down vote," Frist said. "I think the political posturing from the other side is absurd."

Frist said he didn't doubt he had the votes to make the rules change.

"We have got to work together as a Senate to give this qualified nominee a dignified hearing and a fair up-or-down vote. If they are going to prejudge the outcome, it's going to be a fight."

If confirmed by the Senate, Alito would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a decisive swing vote in cases involving affirmative action, abortion, campaign finance, discrimination and the death penalty.

Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.(AP-DJ)--10-31-05 1516EST

I was actually looking forward to this fight in the Seante after McCain's gang of 14 as they've come to be known started trying to strong arm Dubya on his nominations.

Let's throw down.

UPDATE: SayAnything has Lindsey Graham, Gang of 14 member, agreeing to go nuclear for Alito. That's awesome.

UPDATE 2: Hugh is reporting Mike DeWine, another Gang of 14 member, agreeing to go nuclear for Alito. Two down, two to go.

UPDATE 3: And we've got Schumer saying Alito could turn the court back to the times of segregation and Chris Matthews with a DNC talking points memo questioning why the Italian-American Alito failed to convict Italian-American mobsters. Covert liberal racism at work again.