Supreme Court Nominee Samuel Alito Has Votes to Stop Filibuster

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 27, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Nominee Samuel Alito Has Votes to Stop Filibuster Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 27, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Both Republican and Democrats agreed on Friday that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito not only has enough votes to be confirmed, but enough to stop a last-minute filibuster threatened by a handful of Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has planned a cloture vote for Monday to close off debate on Alito’s nomination to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Frist’s motion needs 60 votes to be approved and leaders on both sides of the aisle say that will happen.

"Next Tuesday, a bipartisan majority will vote to confirm Judge Alito as Justice Alito," Frist said.

For confirmation, Alito has the firm backing of 52 of the 55 Republicans as well as three Democrats: Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

In addition, Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Ken Salazar of Colorado and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine are all opposed to a filibuster. Akaka and Salazar oppose Alito and the others are undecided.

That’s at least 55 votes to approve Alito for the high court and 60 votes to stop the filibuster. Those totals are likely to increase as a handful of undecided lawmakers make up their minds.

Despite the filibuster threat from three pro-abortion Democrats — Massachusetts senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and Oregon’s Ron Wyden, Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada told AP that Alito’s confirmation is inevitable.

"We’re going to have a vote Tuesday morning," Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said. "Everyone knows there are not enough votes to support a filibuster, but it’s an opportunity to people to express their opinion [against Alito]."

Other lawmakers agreed the success of a filibuster is unlikely.

"A filibuster, I think, is not likely to occur," pro-abortion Delaware Democrat Joe Biden told CBS’ The Early Show.

"Democrats don’t have the necessary votes to sustain their obstruction," pro-life Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, added.

Most observers felt Kerry’s filibuster was a purely political move rather than a genuine effort to block Alito’s nomination to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Steve Schmidt, a White House spokesman, told the New York Times that Kerry’s move "says a lot less about Alito than it does about the Iowa primary in 2008."

The abortion industry is delighted about Kerry’s filibuster bid and called for more senators to line up behind him.

Vicki Saporta, director of the National Abortion Federation, a trade group of abortion businesses, said it "calls on Senators to use the filibuster to stop the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito because of his extreme views on the right to privacy and Roe v. Wade."

Saporta said "appointments to the Supreme Court are so important that it should take a supermajority of 60 votes to confirm a nominee."

President Bush is scheduled to give the State of the Union address and he is expected to tout Alito’s confirmation as a victory.

Should Alito join new Chief Justice John Roberts and pro-life Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade, he would be the fourth vote to reverse the landmark decision allowing abortions throughout pregnancy for virtually any reason. One more pro-life vote would be necessary.

TAKE ACTION: Make your views about Judge Alito’s noination known by contacting your senators. You can reach them by going to: