[JURIST] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [official website] said Tuesday that a proposed Senate rule change to ban filibusters [JURIST report] would only apply to the process of confirming judicial nominees [JURIST news archive], and would not extend into other legislative issues. Fifty votes are needed to approve a rules change that would end Democrats' ability to block President Bush's judicial nominees. Last term, 10 nominees were blocked through filibuster threats, and 34 nominees were confirmed. Bush has reappointed 7 of the 10 who were blocked. While only 50 votes are needed to change the rules, it requires 60 senators to end a filibuster. Several Republican-leaning groups such as Gun Owners of America and the National Right to Work Committee oppose a ban on legislative filibusters, as Republicans have used legislative filibuster threats to stop antigun and pro-union legislation. AP has more.
In a related story, over 1,000 law students, law professors, legal scholars have banded together to oppose the elimination of the filibuster [press release]. Members of the legal community will present letters of opposition to Sen. Richard Durbin this Thursday, April 21, at a national event at Georgetown University Law School.