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Frist warns against Alito filibuster, predicts anti-torture deal

[JURIST] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday in an interview on Fox News Sunday that would support changing Senate procedures to ban judicial filibusters if Democrats attempt to use the device to block the US Supreme Coourt nomination of Samuel Alito [official profile; JURIST news archive]. “Supreme Court justice nominees deserve an up-or-down vote, and it would be absolutely wrong to deny him that,” said Frist. Senate Democrats have expressed concern recently that Alito lacks the “proper judicial temperament” and have threatened a filibuster [JURIST report] unless Alito calms their fears about his views on voting rights and abortion. AP has more.

Also on Fox News Sunday, Frist predicted that the Senate and the White House will soon reach an agreement on anti-torture amendment [PDF text] sponsored by Senator John McCain. The amendment passed [JURIST report] the Senate floor by a vote of 90-9, and McCain has steadfastly refused to compromise [JURISt report] on it. The White House worries that the broad statement that no person in US custody should be subject to “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” will prevent interrogators from gaining vital national security information, and has asked that the CIA be exempted from the bill [JURIST report]. Conversely, Senator Lindsey Graham [official profile] has said that the Senate is “not close to a deal,” indicating that negotiations have broken down on how best to protect American troops from unwittingly exceeding the confusing policy. AP has more.

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