[JURIST] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [official website] said Tuesday that he hoped the Senate could take up the contentious issue of judicial nominations by next week. During a meeting with the press, Frist said the Senate could finish debate on a highway bill and on emergency funding for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by next week. The Senate has remained deadlocked over 10 of President Bush's judicial nominations, which Democrats previously filibustered. Senate Republicans have repeatedly called for an up-or-down vote for each nominee, and suggested a possible rules change that would end the filibuster for judicial nominee votes. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid [official website] said Democrats were prepared to vote on the so-called "nuclear option," with Democrats hoping some moderate Republicans will join in opposing the measure. The issue has been looming since several of the 10 disputed nominations were approved [JURIST report] by the Senate Judiciary Commitee, but Reid and Frist have been unable to broker a compromise [JURIST report]. The two most recently agreed [Reid statement; Frist reponse] to allow the nomination of Thomas Griffith to pass. AP has more.