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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Senate GOP Leadership Must Confront Filibuster on Judicial Nominations

Now that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Bush, the Senate and the nation are back at square one and facing the same issue - How can the nomination process function so long as the minority party can block an up-or-down vote on a nominee by requiring a super-majority?

The "nuclear option" of a simply majority vote to change the Senate rules on how many votes are required to bring a nomination to the floor for an up or down vote must be taken. There is no way to avoid it that allows the nomination and confirmation of the kind of conservative judge Bush promised to appoint and the majority of Americans voted for in the last election.

John Roberts sits as Chief Justice now because he came as near as any human being could to being the perfect nominee. But there aren't any more Roberts, at least that we know of, and the President has promised to appoint only judges who interpret the law, not judges who make law from the bench.

Since the successful addition of any such nominee establishes the real possibility that liberal landmarks like Roe v Wade could be reversed, virtually any Bush nominee who is supported by most Republicans will be opposed by Democrats. And the Democrats will try to block any such nominee via the super-majority requirement.

Senate GOP leaders have staved off confronting the Democrats on this issue throughout 2005. The time for stalling is over. The issue must be decided - Will the Senate be run by the majority or by the minority?