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Will There Be a Filibuster?

There is no question that the Alito nomination is going to be the war everybody expected earlier this summer when Justice O'Connor first submitted her resignation. The big surprise with Roberts was just how little fight there really was, it had become pretty clear by day three that Roberts was going to be confirmed, and confirmed without any filibuster issues. But by swapping Roberts from the O'Connor seat to Chief Justice, Bush returned focus to the fact that his second nominee would be filling the O'Connor seat. Now obviously constitutionally or legally there isn't an O'Connor seat, or a woman's seat, or a moderate-swing vote Republican's seat; but there is no question that this was going to make it harder to get a a serious conservative confirmed without a fight. 

I just don't see how the Democrats don't attempt a filibuster. Politically I don't think they have another option. Their base is incensed over Iraq and the fact the President appears to have dodged a bullet in the Fitzgerald investigation. They were upset at what they perceived to be the Democrats' weak resistance to the Roberts nomination.  So the Left (like the Right) was spoiling for a fight before Bush even nominated Miers. And then the President's conservative base essentially vetoes the Miers nomination and gets exactly what it wanted all along in Samuel Alito.

There is no way the Democrats are NOT going to put up a MAJOR fight. And the reality is given their 44 seat minority status the only way they can realistically fight, is to filibuster.

I think it is safe to assume that all 22 who voted against Roberts would be open to supporting a filibuster. You figure of the 22 Democrats who voted for Roberts the seven who make up half the Gang of 14 are going to be the most likely to resist a filibuster. But if you look closely at those seven (Joe Lieberman, Robert Byrd, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Daniel Inouye, Mark Pryor, Ken Salazar) only Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor and Robert Byrd stand out as ones who might resist a call to filibuster. Nelson and Pryor for ideological reasons and Byrd for reelection/protecting Senate tradition reasons. Lieberman, Landrieu and Inoye would probably go along with the rest of the caucus, and I don't know that the freshman Salazar wants the heat he would get if he publicly stepped out of line.

Bottom line, the Democrats have to fight, and they have to fight seriously, and that more than likely is going to mean a filibuster.

Maybe, all of the happy talk is right and the Alito confirmation will go down like Roberts except 35-40 Dems will vote against, instead of 22, but I wouldn't hold my breath. This is going to be a war. And in a war each side brings all the force they can muster. And for the Democrats that means an attempted filibuster and if Reid is able to keep 40 votes on board, for the Republicans that will mean invocation of the nuclear option or defeat. 


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