Monday, January 23, 2006

Dems Shift Toward a Possible Filibuster

Durbin to vote against Alito, says filibuster possible

'I just can't rule it out'
Chicago Sun Times: ... As the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, it's Durbin's job to count votes for and against Alito. He said he won't know until Tuesday if there are enough strong opponents to filibuster Alito's nomination.

"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen," Durbin said. "As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 senators ... are willing to stand and fight.
NYT: Judge Alito's Radical Views

....There is every reason to believe, based on his long paper trail and the evasive answers he gave at his hearings, that Judge Alito would quickly vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. So it is hard to see how Senators Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, all Republicans, could square support for Judge Alito with their commitment to abortion rights.

Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them. Women, racial minorities, the elderly and workers who come to court seeking justice should expect little sympathy. In the same flat bureaucratic tones he used at the hearings, he is likely to insist that the law can do nothing for them.

The White House has tried to create an air of inevitability around this nomination. But there is no reason to believe that Judge Alito is any more popular than the president who nominated him. Outside a small but vocal group of hard-core conservatives, America has greeted the nomination with a shrug - and counted on its senators to make the right decision.

The real risk for senators lies not in opposing Judge Alito, but in voting for him. If the far right takes over the Supreme Court, American law and life could change dramatically. If that happens, many senators who voted for Judge Alito will no doubt come to regret that they did not insist that Justice O'Connor's seat be filled with someone who shared her cautious, centrist approach to the law.
Come on Dems, don't let us down.

If they have any hope of mounting a successful campaign for a majority in at least one House of Congress in 06, they have got to show some unity as an opposition party to the status quo and show some spine. If they let Scalito slide without so much as a fight, they will have completely let down their most passionate constituents. Even if they wind up with what looks to be a vote or 2 short of a filibuster, they should go for it anyway. Let the traitors to our most basic core values as a party show themselves by supporting Alito. We'll mount a campaign to ostracise them from our ranks, just like we're already going to do to Lieberman.


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