(WASHINGTON) — The Senate voted 81-18 yesterday to end debate on 5th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Priscilla R. Owen, a Texas Supreme Court justice whom Democrats have blocked with filibusters four times since she was nominated by the president in 2001.
Even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who plans to vote against Owen in a vote scheduled today, supported ending debate.
The vote to end debate was the product of a compromise engineered Monday night by 14 ‘centrists’ — seven Republicans and seven Democrats — allowing up-and-down votes for many stalled nominees in exchange for preserving the minority party’s ability to block future picks with filibusters in ‘extraordinary circumstances.’
But just hours after that deal was reached, several Republican senators complained that Democrats had violated the deal by insisting on exercising their right to continue debating Owen instead of proceeding directly to a vote.
Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., pointed out that senators had now debated Owen for more than 21 days on the Senate floor.” More…
You can rest assured this battle won’t be over until there is a vote to end the filibuster for judicial nominees. Consider the decision Tuesday a short term cease fire….