Senate Democrat Won’t Rule Out Filibuster on Samuel Alito Nomination

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 14, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrat Won’t Rule Out Filibuster on Samuel Alito Nomination Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 14, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Pro-abortion Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, says he’s not ruling out the possibility of using a filibuster to try to stop the nomination of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court if he doesn’t like what he hears during the Senate hearings early next month.

”Certainly nobody I know is," planning to use the filibuster, Feingold, a member of the Senate’s judicial panel, told the Associated Press, but "I’m not going to take it off the table. It’s my right as a senator and it’s an important right."

Senators have been fighting in recent days over whether the filibuster should be allowed on Alito’s nomination to replace pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Senate majority leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, said over the weekend that he would use a procedural vote to attempt to stop abortion advocates from using the filibuster to prevent a vote on Alito’s nomination.

"The answer is yes," the Tennessee senator told Fox News Sunday when asked whether he would try to prevent a filibuster.

"I have stood from day one on principle that these Supreme Court justices — nominees deserve an up or down vote, and it would be absolutely wrong to deny him that. And that’s what the constitutional option is," he said.

On Monday, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia said he didn’t think talk of a filibuster was serious and Frist said yesterday he thought the filibuster talks would eventually "disappear."

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on January 9 that are expected to last for days. A vote on Alito’s nomination is tentatively scheduled for January 20.

Recently, many Senate Democrats have questioned whether Alito should be approved for the high court and they point to two 1985 memos he wrote saying there is no right to abortion in the Constitution and seeking to limit Roe v. Wade through subsequent Supreme Court decisions.

Senate Democrats did not filibuster the nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice, even though abortion advocates also believed he would vote to overturn unlimited abortion. As a result, he received 72 votes for his confirmation, showing strong bipartisan votes.

Alito would only need 50 votes to be confirmed, but it takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster, which makes it more difficult.

Should Democrats filibuster, Frist said he would pursue a procedural motion saying filibusters are only allowed against legislation but not Supreme Court nominees. The motion would only need 50 votes to pass.