Former Democratic leader joins fight against GOP filibuster plan

[JURIST] Former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell Saturday joined the Democratic party chorus opposing Republican threats to ban Senate filibusters [Reuters report] of judicial nominees. Delivering the Democrats' Saturday radio address, Mitchell chided Republicans for seeking to overturn a 200-year old Senate practice in the face of Senate approval of some 95% of Bush judicial appointees. The Senate has thusfar approved 204 of President Bush's candidates for the federal bench, but 10 others have been stalled by filibusters, which under current Senate rules can only be ended by 60 votes. Republicans want to eliminate this requirement for presidential appointees. Democrats point out that the Republicans previously prevented some 60 Clinton nominees from even getting a hearing [Christian Science Monitor report] before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which had the same effect as a filibuster. Both sides have taken the debate to the media [New York Times report] with a showdown expected this coming week [New York Times report]. Even though Republicans hold 55 seats in the Senate, it is unclear if they will get the 51 votes needed to change the rule. Some GOP moderates might not be on board [Washington Post report] with the rule change.

 

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