Anti-filibuster plan threatened

WASHINGTON – A Senate Republican leader’s threat to outlaw filibusters of judicial nominees is running into resistance from his party’s moderates, who may be poised to quash the GOP’s most potent option for dealing with Democratic opposition to conservative judges.

A handful of party centrists have expressed varying degrees of opposition to the idea of changing Senate rules to bar filibusters of judicial nominees, including those to the Supreme Court. With Republicans holding a 55 to 45 majority, they can lose no more than five colleagues on the issue, assuming that the Democrats and independent Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont stay united, as many expect.

Recently, four Republican senators have expressed deep reservations about the “nuclear option.” At least two others appear to be leaning against it, although less definitively, and several have refused to state a position publicly.

The question appears headed for a showdown in the Senate, where Democrats infuriated Republicans last year by using the filibuster – a time-honored delaying tactic – to prevent votes on 10 of President Bush’s appellate court nominees. Democrats said the conservative appointees were outside the political mainstream; Republicans said Democrats were abusing parliamentary rules to deny the nominees a yes-or-no confirmation vote.

Both parties call the proposed option “nuclear” because it would inevitably prove explosive.

If Republicans carry out their threat, Democrats vow to use parliamentary tactics to grind the Senate to a standstill. Republicans who oppose the plan say long-standing rules that protect the minority party and encourage bipartisan compromises should be preserved, no matter who holds the majority.

It takes 60 votes to halt a filibuster. Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee has called the filibusters of judicial nominees intolerable and repeatedly threatened to act to exempt judicial nominations from being filibustered if Democrats do not stop the practice.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Lawsuit: Funko misled investors about Arizona move

A shareholder claims Funko’s decision to relocate its distribution center from Everett to Arizona was “disastrous.”

1 stabbed at apartment in Lynnwood

The man, 26, was taken to an Everett hospital with “serious injuries.”

A firefighting helicopter carries a bucket of water from a nearby river to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. Highway 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Red flag fire warning issued west of Cascades

There are “critical fire weather” conditions due to humidity and wind in the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

A house fire damaged two homes around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Fire burns 2 homes in Marysville, killing 2 dogs

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire north of Lakewood Crossing early Tuesday, finding two houses engulfed in flames.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Mountlake Terrace eyes one-time projects for $2.4M in federal funds

Staff recommended $750,000 for a new roof and HVAC at the library, $250,000 toward a nonprofit facility in Lynnwood and more.

The Snohomish River turns along the edge of the Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve at Thomas’ Eddy on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
To build a healthier Snohomish River, more log jams

About $2.8M in grants will help engineer log jams, tear down levees and promote salmon restoration at Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve.

Dave "Bronco" Erickson stands next to the pink-and-purple 1991 Subaru Justy hatchback “Pork Chop Express” car that he is seeking to re-home for $500. The car has been on Whidbey Island for years, mainly as yard art. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
For sale: Whidbey’s fabled ‘Pork Chop Express’ gets great smileage

Asking price is $500 for the 1991 Subaru Justy, a three-cylinder econobox with 65K miles and a transmission as rare as hen’s teeth.

Ciscoe Morris, a longtime horticulturist and gardening expert, will speak at Sorticulture. (Photo provided by Sorticulture)
Get your Sorticulture on: Garden festival returns to downtown Everett

It’s a chance to shop, dance, get gardening tips, throw an axe and look through a big kaleidoscope. Admission is free.

Marysville resident sentenced to 15 years for fentanyl operation

Jose Eduardo Garnica received a shipment from China labeled “Furniture Parts.” It had fentanyl-manufacturing parts.

Most Read