Politics

How Do You Spell Filibuster? Alito

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Well, it’s official, Samuel Alito’s the newest victim, excuse me, nominee.

Looks like a showdown is looming.

Based upon comments from over the weekend, it appears that Sen. Harry Reid won’t be in the running for membership in the Alito fan club, but will instead be one of many vocal opponents of Alito during the nomination process.

With the announcement of a new Supreme Court nominee expected as early as Monday, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, warned President Bush on Sunday not to pick one of the candidates said to be on the president’s short list, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.

“I think it would create a lot of problems,” Mr. Reid said on “Late Edition” on CNN.

This go-round, though, the issue will not be judicial experience and qualifications, rather the challenge of “fitness” will revolve around abortion rights views.

Mr. Specter said he was “very worried” about the possibility of a filibuster. “The topic which dominates the discussion, as we all know, is a woman’s right to choose,” said the senator, who supports abortion rights.

He continued: “You have both sides poles apart, and insistent on finding some answer to that question in advance of the hearing, which no one is entitled to. Guarantees are for used cars and washing machines, not Supreme Court justices.”

Trying again to name a second Supreme Court justice presents a rare opportunity for Mr. Bush to revitalize his political base and to put his mark on the court at a time when the White House is besieged.

Polls show Mr. Bush’s popularity at a new low. American casualties continue to mount in Iraq, the president’s domestic agenda is in limbo, and the White House is reeling from the indictment of I. Lewis Libby Jr., a top aide, a day after the withdrawal of Mr. Bush’s previous Supreme Court nominee, Harriet E. Miers.

But because the nominee would succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was the swing vote on abortion rights and other social issues, any pick that pleased conservatives would most likely meet ferocious resistance from the left. The withdrawal of Ms. Miers has emboldened the left and the right to step up their demands, and a second failed pick will only compound the pressure.

On Sunday, Senator Reid and other Democrats sought to capitalize on the president’s political vulnerabilities as he picked a nominee.

Democrats emboldened.

A vulnerable administration and party in-fighting.

Looks like it’s going to be filibuster time.