Jan 05 2006
Somebody has to pat Mark Coffey on the back (and the rest of us Chillers) for seeing the facts behind the Gang of 14 agreement. Here we are eight months later and all is going well with Judicial nominations:
“I don’t think anybody today sees a reason for a filibuster, but they may after the hearing if the answers are troubling to them or they feel they haven’t gotten the answers to important questions,” said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor.
Alito, a longtime conservative lawyer and judge, will face the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday for his confirmation hearings to become the 110th Supreme Court justice, replacing retiring Sandra Day O’Connor.
The Senate’s majority Republicans are pushing for a final confirmation vote Jan. 20 _ if Democrats don’t filibuster his nomination.
Democrats, the Senate’s minority party, contend Alito is too conservative and could undermine some rights if confirmed. Some of their liberal supporters have urged Democrats to do whatever they can to block the nomination, including a filibuster.
It takes 40 votes to sustain a filibuster. With the Senate split with 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and one Democratic-voting independent, Democrats could launch an Alito filibuster on their own without a single Republican vote.
But Democrats have said repeatedly they aren’t planning to filibuster Alito, although they also have refused to promise to refrain from the stalling tactic on the federal appellate judge.
To be successful, a filibuster would need almost all of the 44 Democrats behind it and certainly all of the Democratic leadership. But the Senate’s senior Democrat, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, has said several times on the Senate floor that he has seen no reason to filibuster Alito’s nomination. “There is not going to be any filibuster against Alito,” Byrd insisted in December in a heated December exchange with Frist.
To Chill, or not to Chill?