Top Senate Democrat Will Vote Against John Roberts, No Filibuster

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 20, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Top Senate Democrat Will Vote Against John Roberts, No Filibuster Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 20, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he plans to vote against the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts. Reid said he couldn’t vote for Roberts because there "are too many unanswered questions" about where he stands on key issues such as abortion.

"No one disputes his academic prowess, his mental power. He’s a very smart man," Reid told reporters, explaining his decision. "But through all this I came to the realization that I’m not too sure his heart is as big as his head."

According to a Washington Post report, Reid hopes his opposition — he is the first Democrat to make his vote public — will lead other moderate Democrats to oppose Roberts as well.

Yesterday, two pro-abortion Republicans, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, indicated they would back Roberts. With their commitments, it’s likely that all 55 Republicans will vote for Roberts. Several Senate Democrats are thought to support Roberts and well.

Reid’s comments make it appear Democrats will not use the only tool in their arsenal available to stop Roberts — a filibuster.

"The question is close, and the arguments against him do not warrant extraordinary procedural tactics to block the nomination," Reid said on the floor of the Senate, referring to the filibuster. "Nonetheless, I intend to cast my vote against this nominee."

A White House spokesman expressed the president’s disappointment the Democratic leader would oppose Roberts.

"In confirming recent nominees like [Ruth Bader] Ginsberg, [Stephen] Breyer and [Antonin] Scalia, senators based their decisions on the qualifications of the nominee, not on whether or not the person doing the nominating was in their same party," said Dana Perino. "The public does not want to see the Supreme Court become an extension of partisan politics."

The Senate’s judicial panel will vote on Roberts on Thursday and he is expected to receive at least a 10-8 party-line vote if not a higher margin with the support of a Democrat or two. Democratic members of the panel met today to discuss their votes.