News

    US Senate to Vote on Judge at Heart of Filibuster Deal

    The U.S. Senate Tuesday prepared to vote on one of President Bush's long-stalled judicial nominees, a day after a group of bipartisan Senators reached a compromise averting a showdown on the nominations.

    The Senate voted to end debate on the nomination of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen for a seat on the federal appeals court, clearing the way for her confirmation.

    The action was made possible by a deal brokered Monday night by a bipartisan group of 14 Senators. 

    Justice Owen, first nominated by Mr. Bush four years ago, is one of a number of judicial nominees blocked by Democrats who argued they were so conservative as to be out of the mainstream.

    Before the compromise was reached, Senate Republican leader Bill Frist had scheduled a vote Tuesday to ban the use of the filibuster, or delaying tactics, for judicial nominees, and move toward a confirmation vote on Justice Owen.  Democrats, denouncing the plans as a power grab by majority Republicans, pledged to use other procedural moves to slow the work of the Senate.

    Under the deal, Democrats agreed to allow up-or-down votes on three of five contested judicial nominees, including Justice Owen, and vowed not to use the filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances.

    Republicans agreed not to change Senate rules on the use of the filibuster during the rest of the congressional term, through the end of next year.

    Both sides called on the White House to consult with Congress on future nominees.

    Although President Bush does not get the up-or-down votes he wanted for all his judicial nominees, he welcomed the deal during a visit to Rochester, New York.

    "I'm pleased that the Senate is moving forward on my judicial nominees who were previously being blocked.  The nominees have been waiting years for an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor and now they will get one.  It is about time we are making some progress," said Mr. Bush.

    It is not clear how long the compromise will endure.   It could have an impact on future Supreme Court nominations, with a retirement expected later this year.

    The 14 Senators who brokered the deal say the agreement is based on faith and goodwill.  Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, played a key role in the compromise:

    "This agreement was meant in the finest traditions of the Senate it was entered into:  trust, respect, and mutual desire to see the institution of the Senate function in ways that protect the rights of the minority," said Mr. McCain.

    Majority Leader Frist, a potential presidential contender in 2008 who was under pressure from conservatives to guarantee votes on all of Mr. Bush's judicial nominees, said the deal was modest progress.  But, noting that he was not a party to the agreement, said he would not rule out banning the filibuster for judicial nominees if the Democrats did not abide by their end of the bargain.

    "I will bring it out once again, and once again I will set a date to use it, if that is what it takes to move this body forward, we will do that once again," said Mr. Frist.

    Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid, who was also not a party to the deal, did not rule out blocking future judicial nominees put forward by Mr. Bush.

    "There will be filibusters of judges and other things, that is what the Senate is all about," said Mr. Reid.

    Mr. Reid suggested Democrats may also use the filibuster to block Mr. Bush's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, whose nomination could come before the Senate later this week. Democrats have criticized Mr. Bolton for efforts to shape intelligence to meet ideological ends.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.