Senator Says Chance of Samuel Alito Senate Filibuster Higher

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Says Chance of Samuel Alito Senate Filibuster Higher Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 21, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A top pro-abortion Democrat in the Senate says the chances of an attempted filibuster of Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination are higher than before. Sen. Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the chances of a filibuster depend largely on Alito’s answers during January’s hearings.

Biden told Fox News Sunday that he and others are concerned about Alito’s comments on abortion in a 1985 letter he wrote to seek a higher position within the Reagan administration.

In the letter, Alito said he found no right to abortion in the Constitution and added he was proud to have worked in the Justice Department where he was fighting for a limited judiciary and against abortion.

"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that … the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," Alito wrote.

"I think he’s got a lot of explaining to do, and depending on how he does, I think will determine whether or not he has a problem or not," Biden said.

Should Alito fail to answer questions about abortion in a satisfactory manner, "then clearly, clearly, you’ll find a lot of people, including me, willing to do whatever they can to keep him off the court," Biden told Fox News.

"That would include a filibuster, if need be," Biden added.

That’s a flip-flop on the issue, the Fox News program pointed out, but Biden said the change in position was based on new information about the nominee.

"What I said before was based on what I knew," Biden said. "But the jury was still out based on how he answers the questions and how he explains."

However, the success of a potential filibuster is in doubt because most of the members of the group of 14 Republican and Democratic lawmakers who participated in a filibuster compromise earlier this year say they like Alito or don’t plan to filibuster.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans will see a barrage of television ads this week as they celebrate Thanksgiving.

Democratic senators from six red states returned home over the weekend to confront television ads connecting critics of Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court with groups that support abortion.

Those ads were triggered by one from groups opposing him claiming Alito, as a federal appellate judge, ”even voted to approve the strip search of a 10-year-old girl.”

"This distorts a case where a suspected drug dealer’s daughter was searched, visibly not manually, by a female police officer in the presence of the child’s mother," syndicated columnist Bob Novak explains about the ad. "Alito’s defenders make the legitimate argument that the assault against him ends up as a defense of drug dealers."