Republican McCain Opposes Filibuster Change, Pro-Life Groups Fight

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican McCain Opposes Filibuster Change, Pro-Life Groups Fight Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11
, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Making the task of changing Senate rules to allow votes on President Bush’s pro-life judicial picks more difficult, Senator John McCain announced Sunday he will oppose such a rules change.

He told CBS’ "Face the Nation" that changing the rules to allow a lower vote necessary to stop filibusters on judges could lead to a similar rules change on all legislative issues.

"I think that there’s a problem with a slippery slope," he said.

He worries the Democrats could lower the filibuster bar on judicial nominees or other issues when they control the White House and Senate again someday.

"If we don’t protect the rights of the minority … if you had a liberal president and a Democrat-controlled Senate, I think that it could do great damage," he told the ABC News program.

McCain’s opposition puts him in company with several pro-abortion Republican senators who have either said they oppose the filibuster change or have not indicated their position. Senate Democrats have threatened to shut down Senate legislation if the rules change is approved.

However, pro-life groups are still encouraging Senate Republican leaders to move ahead with the rules change.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, announced Monday it was launching a national campaign to support the effort.

"The use of the judicial filibuster is an obstructionist tactic designed to prevent full consideration of nominees — a move that violates the Constitution," said Jay Sekulow, the group’s chief counsel.

Sekulow said his firm would launch a petition campaign to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures pressing for the rules change.

The National Right to Life Committee also supports the change, saying that it is necessary to stop filibusters by abortion advocates which are holding up the nominations of more than a dozen pro-life judicial picks. Such filibusters could also stall nominees to the nation’s high court.

"The fate of the President’s future nominees to the Supreme Court may hang in the balance," the group said Monday.