Pro-Abortion Senator: Filibuster Against Samuel Alito Unlikely

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Senator: Filibuster Against Samuel Alito Unlikely Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 16, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-abortion senator who is the only woman on the Senate Judiciary Committee says she doesn’t think it’s likely that abortion advocates in the Senate will launch a filibuster against Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, plans to vote against Alito but she said Sunday that "I do not see a likelihood of a filibuster."

"This might be a man I disagree with, but it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be on the court," Feinstein said. She said nothing came up at the hearings last week to warrant the filibuster.

But other abortion advocates haven’t ruled it out.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who harshly questioned Alito, said Democrats on the committee are still going over written transcripts of the hearings and waiting for written answers to some more questions.

"It’s premature to say anything till we fully assess the record," Schumer told "Fox News Sunday."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a pro-life South Carolina Republican, appeared with Schumer on "Fox News Sunday" and said, "If there’s a filibuster of this man based on his qualifications, there would be a huge backlash in this country."

Feinstein told CBS’ "Face the Nation" that Alito has 15 years of service on a federal appeals court and she acknowledged he has the legal credentials to serve on the Supreme Court as well.

"I was impressed with his ability to maintain a very even demeanor," she told the CBS news program. "I think there is an additional weight you must give to his background, his qualifications and his ability."

Alito has also picked up support from newspapers who take pro-abortion editorial position with the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post backing his nomination. The New York Times has editorialized against confirming Alito.

"While we harbor some anxiety about the direction he may push the court, we would be more alarmed at the long-term implications of denying him a seat," the Post wrote.

All 10 Republicans on the Senate judicial panel plan to vote for Alito and it’s expected that all 8 of the Democrats will vote against him. A vote was planned for Tuesday but Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has asked Democrats on the panel to hold off on voting until after a Democratic caucus meeting Wednesday.

Once approved in committee, Alito’s nomination will head to the Senate floor where he is expected to receive 60 or more votes, which would be enough to overcome a filibuster.