Monday, May 23, 2005

Nuclear option averted, filibustering of judicial nominees is still possible

Late last week Senator Frist began the clock on the invoking of the nuclear option. Namely, upending 200 years of precedent that the Senate could filibuster a judicial nominee.

Today, a deal was just reached that preserves the filibuster option.

Senators compromise on filibusters Bipartisan group agrees to vote to end debate on 3 nominees (Tuesday, May 24, 2005 Posted: 12:20 AM EDT (0420 GMT) CNN.COM)

Under the agreement, three nominees for appellate courts stalled by Democratic filibusters will go forward and two others will remain subject to filibuster.

The group's members also agreed that they would oppose attempts to filibuster future judicial nominees except under "extraordinary circumstances."

Fourteen senators -- seven Democrats and seven Republicans -- signed on to the deal.

That bloc is large enough to derail both Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees and any GOP attempt to employ the so-called "nuclear option" to change Senate rules through procedural maneuvers to prevent the tactic from being used.

..."This is really good news for every American," the Nevada Democrat told reporters. "Checks and balances have been protected."

Reid said the agreement sent President Bush, Vice President Cheney and what he called the "radical arm of the Republican base" the "undeniable" message that "abuse of power will not be tolerated."

Frist was less enthusiastic, saying the agreement "falls short" of the principle that all judicial nominees should receive a vote on the Senate floor.