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"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What do you think?

The LA Times:

Senate Deal Reached on Filibusters

A bipartisan agreement forged by 14 lawmakers will allow votes on three of five stalled judicial nominations. A 'nuclear' showdown is averted.

In a rare act of compromise on Capitol Hill, a maverick group of seven Democrats and seven Republicans reached an agreement Monday that forced the Senate's leadership to stand down from a confrontation over federal judicial nominees.

There was a palpable sense of relief in the Capitol's corridors as the agreement was announced, with the lawmakers who struck the deal effusively congratulating one another.

"We have reached an agreement to pull the institution back from a precipice that would have had a damaging effect on the institution," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was among the leaders in the negotiations.

Another negotiator, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), said: "This agreement is based on trust. We don't know what's going on in the future, but we do know we trust one another."

Republicans had planned to act today to use a controversial procedure, presided over by Vice President Dick Cheney, to change Senate rules to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster judicial nominations.

The move had become known as the "nuclear option" because of the destructive effect it was expected to have on the work of the Senate.

Instead, the Senate was expected to move today to orderly confirmation votes on some of President Bush's stalled nominations to the federal bench.

The agreement specifically will allow votes on three of five stalled nominations, including Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla R. Owen, whose nomination to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans was the nominal cause for the showdown over the filibuster.

The other two are California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., and William H. Pryor Jr., nominated to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

The senators who signed the agreement braced for a backlash from activists on the right and the left who had denounced compromise as selling out to the other side.

"People at home are going to get very upset with me for a while," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the negotiators. But he added that the agreement would lead to a "Senate that functions for the common good."

Socially conservative groups had lobbied heavily for an end to the filibuster for judicial nominees, and their leaders were quick to blast the agreement.

James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, said: "We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust."

Some Democrats also criticized the compromise.

Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) said the agreement was "not a good deal."

"Democrats should have stood together firmly against the bullying tactics of the Republican leadership abusing their power as they control both houses of Congress and the White House," he said. "Confirming unacceptable judicial nominations is simply a green light for the Bush administration to send more nominees who lack the judicial temperament or record to serve in these lifetime positions."

Under the compromise, the seven Democrats agreed not to support efforts to filibuster Bush's future nominees, except under "extraordinary circumstances." That's enough to deny the minority the votes to sustain a filibuster.

For their part, the seven Republicans agreed not to lend their votes to the drive led by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to change Senate rules to break the Democrats' judicial filibusters. That's enough to deny Republicans the majority they need for such a rules change.

In addition, the 14 signers called on the president — who had kept largely silent as the confrontation built — to consult more with members of both parties on his judicial nominees.

The White House indicated it viewed the deal as a positive development even though it provided no assurance that future Bush nominees would receive a floor vote.

1 Comments:



Anonymous Abe Gisler said...

it was pretty awesome.

1/07/2006 02:41:00 PM  

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