Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday he is prepared to strip Democrats of their to ability to filibuster if they try to stall Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“The answer is yes,” Frist said when asked if he would act to change Senate procedures to restrict a Democratic filibuster. “Supreme Court justice nominees deserve an up-or-down vote, and it would be absolutely wrong to deny him that.”
In recent weeks, Senate Democrats have questioned whether Alito, a federal appeals court judge, has the proper judicial temperament and ideology to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Several Democrats have said that Alito’s views on issues such as voting rights and abortion could provoke a filibuster unless he allays their concerns about his commitment to civil rights. Alito’s confirmation hearings begin Jan. 9 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I can’t believe that Frist isn’t being a little more cautious now that it appears Americans are turning against the Republican party. Does Frist really want to deny the filibuster to a possible Republican minority in 2006 or 2008? I’d imagine that there are at least a few senior Senators who would like to play things a little more cautiously, on the off-chance that the Democratic party picks up a majority in the Senate.