Senate Republicans, Democrats Talk Filibuster Over Samuel Alito

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Republicans, Democrats Talk Filibuster Over Samuel Alito Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 1, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The biggest obstacle standing in the way of confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito may be a filibuster by a pro-abortion lawmakers upset with his position on the controversial issue. Just one day after President Bush announced his nomination, senators are already debating how to handle a potential filibuster.

Pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Boxer of California began the debate when she told the Associated Press that, "The filibuster’s on the table."

But Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, an abortion advocate who is the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, said its too early to talk about filibustering Alito.

"I don’t think we should assume that’s going to happen at all," Durbin said adding that members of his party need to learn much more about the nominee before making that decision.

If Senate Democrats do pull out the filibuster option, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tells Fox News he’s ready to fight.

"If a filibuster comes back, I’m not going to hesitate," to change Senate rules on filibustering judicial picks, Frist said.

The potential outcome of a filibuster battle will largely be decided by a group of 14 lawmakers, seven Republicans and seven Democrats, who struck an agreement earlier this year to stop an effort to change the rules by allowing votes on several filibustered judicial candidates.

Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, says he’d be willing to go along with a rules change if Alito is filibustered.

"If someone would filibuster … I would be prepared to vote to change the rules," he told AP.

"It’s hard for me to envision that anyone would think about filibustering this nominee," DeWine added. Alito is "clearly within the mainstream" and shouldn’t be filibustered, he said.

The so-called "Gang of 14" will meet with Alito on Thursday as the nominee has already begun making the rounds to meet with senators.