February 12, 2003


Filibuster on Judgeship Halts Business in the Senate (NEIL A. LEWIS, 2/12/03, NY Times)
Senate Democrats began a filibuster today, speaking on the Senate floor without respite, to block a vote on President Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to a federal appeals court in Washington. [...]

For their part, Republicans responded defiantly: talk all you want, we won't stop you, said Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the Republican conference chairman. But, Mr. Santorum warned, be prepared to stay here through a planned recess and keep talking. Congress is out next week for the President's Day recess.

It remains unclear whether the current procedure will resemble those of old in which filibustering senators engaged in marathon oratorical sessions to to put off a vote.

But for now, other Senate business has come to a halt over the nomination of Mr. Estrada, a 42-year-old Washington lawyer named by Mr. Bush to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely seen as second in importance only to the Supreme Court.

With a 51-member majority in the 100-member Senate, Republicans have the votes to confirm Mr. Estrada as the first Hispanic judge on the appeals court in Washington. But they would need at least 9 Democrats to reach the 60 votes needed to end the filibuster.

Is this really a campaign platform the Democrats can win with: We shut down the government in wartime just to keep one Hispanic off the bench? Posted by Orrin Judd at February 12, 2003 10:13 AM

At this point (Wed noonish) it appears both sides are holding firm. If this continues I'm not sure who blinks first. Dems get bad pr but GOP doesn't get bills passed, particularly the tax cut bill. Frist's threat to make them work over the holiday may be enough for these slackers to give up. We'll have to see.

Posted by: AWW at February 12, 2003 1:19 PM

Any bets on whether this filibuster gets any major news coverage except for Fox tonight???

Posted by: Jim at February 12, 2003 2:49 PM