In WH meeting, 'Only two of the elected officials in the room had never filibustered a Supreme Court nominee' 

When Senate leaders went to the White House Wednesday morning to discuss the Supreme Court opening, the meeting was attended by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and ranking member Patrick Leahy and Jeff Sessions, and Senate majority and minority leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.

There has been some talk of a possible Republican filibuster of Obama's choice, although Obama hasn't yet actually made the choice. Be that as it may, Republicans well remember that there was an attempted filibuster of the last Republican Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, and 25 Democrats supported it. And among those 25 who voted to filibuster Alito were all the Democrats present at Wednesday's meeting -- Obama, Biden, Reid, and Leahy.

"It didn't go without being noticed that only two of the elected officials in the room had never filibustered a Supreme Court nominee," says one Republican Senate aide. Those two, of course, were McConnell and Sessions. So at the moment, the only lawmakers who are being criticized for even being open to the possibility of a filibuster are the ones who have never, in fact, taken part in one. "It's kind of challenging for Democrats now to make the case that Republicans ought to be helpful and speed things up when they not only tried to slow Alito down but voted against cloture," says the Senate aide.

By the way, Democrats not only tried to filibuster Alito, they began threatening a filibuster before the nomination was made. "If it's going to be a nominee who is way, way out of the mainstream…there's the possibility of a filibuster," said Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer on CBS on October 30, 2005. "But it's much too early to judge." That's precisely what some Republicans are saying now.

 

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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