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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs