Senate Filibuster Compromise Group Likes Samuel Alito for High Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Filibuster Compromise Group Likes Samuel Alito for High Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 4, 2005

Washington, DC ( — In one of the surest signs that Judge Samuel Alito appears headed for confirmation to the Supreme Court was his successful meeting with members of the Senate filibuster compromise group. The seven Democrats and seven Republicans who stopped filibusters against President Bush’s pro-life appeals court picks liked what they saw in Alito.

"He certainly got it off to a good start," Sen. Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat, said after the group met with the high court nominee.

The filibuster group said they would oppose using filibusters against judicial picks unless "extraordinary circumstances" warranted.

"I don’t see any extraordinary circumstances," Pryor told the Washington Times. "I don’t expect any. But then again, things can change rather quickly, and I’ll continue to be looking for those."

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat and another member of the group agreed that Alito’s nomination doesn’t appear to warrant a filibuster.

"No, I don’t see anything," he told the Times. "Well, I see some things today that raise questions in my mind about opinions he’s written, but they’re questions."

Meanwhile, Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat also met with Alito yesterday.

"Overall, I was very impressed with his intellect, with respect to the powers of the branches of government, the law and the Constitution," he told reporters afterward. "He’s certainly well-fitted in that regard for the Supreme Court. But I want to hear more; I want to read more."

Should the members of the group decide against endorsing a filibuster by more strident pro-abortion lawmakers, Alito’s nomination is virtually guaranteed for approval.

Alito would have little trouble finding 50 votes to be confirmed, but have a more difficult time in securing 60 to head off a nomination. However, combined with Republicans, who control the Senate 55-45, Democrats in the filibuster group who oppose preventing a vote would give Alito enough to easily stop a filibuster.

Alito will need those votes because some senators, including pro-abortion Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin and pro-abortion California Democrat Barbara Boxer have pledged to filibuster Alito if they don’t get satisfactory answers about abortion during his January hearings.

Other members of the group, such as pro-life Republicans Mike DeWine of Ohio and Lyndsey Graham of South Carolina, say they support Alito and see no reason for a filibuster.