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Senate set for showdown over judges as Frist prepares to advance two nominations

[JURIST] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Friday in a statement [text] that after the Senate completes deliberations next week on a highway bill he will put forward the hitherto-blocked nominations of Judges Priscilla Owen [DOJ OLP profile] and Janice Rogers Brown [DOJ OLP profile] for seats on the federal appeals bench, forcing a showdown with Democrats. He also indicated that if all seven blocked Bush judicial nominees [AP report] are not give up-or-down votes on the Senate floor, he will use what critics have called the "nuclear option" and force a rule change that would ban filibusters of judicial nominations [Frist factsheet]. Senate Democrats say that they have rejected only 10 of 215 Bush judicial nominees and insist on the constitutionality and political legitimacy of the filibuster [Senate Democrats factsheet] as a Senate practice in the face of majority power. Bloomberg has more.

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