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Thursday, January 26, 2006

 

CNN: Kerry calls for Alito filibuster - Jan. 26

Thursday, Posted: 5:46 p.m. EST (22:46 GMT)
 
KerryWASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry, left, will attempt a filibuster to block the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, CNN has learned.

Kerry, in Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum, was marshaling support in phone calls during the day, he told CNN.  Kerry said he told a group of Democratic senators Wednesday, and urged that they join him. Kerry said he has the support of fellow Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Some senior Democrats told CNN they are worried that the move could backfire.

Republicans would need 60 votes to overturn a filibuster -- a procedural move that extends Senate debate indefinitely, effectively blocking a vote. Senior White House officials said the move would make the Democrats look bad, and that Republicans believe they have enough votes to overcome any filibuster attempt.

Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, scheduled a vote to end debate on the nomination -- called a cloture vote -- Monday at 4:30 p.m. If that vote is successful, the final vote would be Tuesday morning.

Nearly all 55 Republican senators have said they will vote for Alito. Only three Democrats -- Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota -- have said they will vote for the nominee.

Earlier Thursday, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said she would oppose a filibuster.  "Because we have such a full plate of pressing issues before Congress, a filibuster at this time would be, in my view, very counterproductive," said Landrieu, who is pushing the Senate to focus on the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Party line vote

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send Alito's nomination to the full Senate.  In supporting Alito, the 10 committee Republicans praised his qualifications and long judicial career.

Democrats have been mostly united in opposition to Alito. The panel's eight Democrats opposed him, saying he would be too deferential to presidential authority and would restrict abortion rights.

Republicans and the White House are pushing to have that vote before President Bush gives his State of the Union speech January 31, Senate sources have said.

In the floor debate of Alito's nomination, Democrats have been highly critical of the nomination, saying he would threaten civil liberties and fail to act as a check on executive power.  "If an originalist analysis was applied to the Fourteenth Amendment, women would not be provided equal protection under the Constitution, interracial marriages could be outlawed, schools could still be segregated and the principle of one man, one vote would not govern the way we elect our representatives," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, had supported Chief Justice John Roberts' nomination last fall.  But this time, he said, "I am concerned that if we confirm this nominee it will further erode the checks and balances" between the branches of government.

CNN's Ed Henry and Dana Bash contributed to this report.  Source:  CNN News.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

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