by Steven Ertelt
January 12, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Senate Republicans are getting closer to launching their plan of action to attempt to prevent filibusters by pro-abortion Senate Democrats on President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominees.
Pro-life lawmakers have long been frustrated by the efforts of abortion advocates to stall nearly a dozen of Bush’s picks to top federal courts. The issue came to a head during the elections and is credited with helping pro-life Senator John Thune defeat then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
The filibuster has been successful because it requires 60 votes to shut off debate and cast and up or down vote on a nominee.
While Republicans now have 55 votes in the Senate, and the support or one or two Democrats, they are just shy of the ability to end debate.
With President Bush recently submitting the names of 20 pro-life judicial nominees that have been blocked, Republicans are seriously considering the so-called "nuclear option," which would lower the number of votes needed for a filibuster of judicial nominees.
"If my Democratic colleagues exercise self-restraint and do not filibuster judicial nominees, Senate traditions will be restored," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Tuesday. "But, if my Democratic colleagues continue to filibuster judicial nominees, the Senate will face this choice: Fail to do its constitutional duty or reform itself and restore its traditions, and do what the Framers intended."
Senate Democrats said changing the rules would be a mistake.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has said he would tie up all Senate business if Republicans changed the filibuster rules.
"It will be very difficult to get even the most routine work done in the Senate," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an interview late last month.
Senate Republicans may also not move to change the rules out of concern that the rules would be changed on them should Democrats control the chamber in the future.
Seven of the twenty nominees Bush renominated were filibustered by Senate Democrats while the rest never made it to the Senate floor for consideration.