A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Extraordinary Circumstances"

AP: Senate's 'Gang of 14' Fractures Over Alito---

WASHINGTON - The 14 centrists who averted a Senate breakdown over judicial nominees last spring are showing signs of splintering on President Bush's latest nominee for the Supreme Court.

That is weakening the hand of Democrats opposed to conservative judge Samuel Alito and enhancing his prospects for confirmation.

The unity of the seven Democrats and the seven Republicans in the "Gang of 14" was all that halted a major filibuster fight between GOP leader Bill Frist and Democratic leader Harry Reid earlier this year over Bush's lower court nominees.

The early defection of two of the group's Republicans, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, could hurt if Democrats decide to attempt a filibuster of Alito, the New Jersey jurist Bush nominated Monday to replace retiring Sandra Day O'Connor.

If Democrats do filibuster, Frist wants to change the Senate rules to eliminate the delaying tactic — something the centrist group blocked in May.

But a filibuster "based on a judicial philosophy difference, or an ideologically driven difference," Graham said Wednesday at a news conference. "I don't believe that, with all sincerity, I could let that happen."

DeWine also made clear Tuesday after meeting with the judge that he would vote to ban a Democratic filibuster. "It's hard for me to envision that anyone would think about filibustering this nominee," he said.

Graham said he would use the group's next meeting on Thursday to "inform them of my view."

The centrist Democrats plan to urge their GOP colleagues to withhold judgment, since Alito's nomination is not even officially at the Senate yet. The defection of even two members of the group — which decided earlier in the year to support filibusters only in "extraordinary circumstances" — would virtually ensure that Frist, R-Tenn., would win a showdown.
The R.I.N.O.s better do the Right thing. Alito is an exceptional nominee. They ought never to have made this traitorous deal with the Libs.

Alito must be confirmed.