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January 15, 2006
Feinstein: Forget The Filibuster

Dianne Feinstein stuck a fork into Democratic plans to delay the Alito confirmation earlier today, officially running up a white flag in the Democrats' war on judicial nominations for the time being. The California Senator and one of the few Judiciary Democrats to not embarrass herself during the hearings disregarded the advice of her leadership and declared that Samuel Alito deserves his up-or-down vote from the full Senate:

A Democrat who plans to vote against Samuel Alito sided on Sunday with a Republican colleague on the Senate Judiciary Committee in cautioning against a filibuster of the Supreme Court nominee.

"I do not see a likelihood of a filibuster," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "This might be a man I disagree with, but it doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court."

She said she will not vote to confirm the appeals court judge, based on his conservative record. But she acknowledged that nothing emerged during last week's hearings to justify any organized action by Democrats to stall the nomination.

Harry Reid wanted his caucus to keep their counsel quiet until Wednesday, but Feinstein sees the writing on the wall. Perhaps alone out of her entire caucus on Judiciary, Feinstein understands the damage the Democrats inflicted on themselves with their performance last week. It may not hurt right away, but the sheer impotence the Democrats displayed in their inability to rattle Alito or derail his performance -- indeed, in his ability to make the same three senior members of the Committee (Schumer, Kennedy and Biden) behave like idiots -- will resonate much as the same result did after the Roberts hearings. The Democrats have lost even the Exempt Media as apologists and have them demanding deference to electoral results.

In short, they've lost, and further delay only makes them look more foolish and for a longer period of time.

Tigerhawk points out today that the Gang of 14 deal looks pretty good right now. I agree with him that it has taken a bite out of the Democrats' ability to use the filibuster and strip the White House of its ability to have its nominees treated with the deference Bush's election should have given them. I'll agree with him that it has worked out better than I predicted -- but what it has enabled are these terrible smear campaigns as the Democrats and their allies attempt to gin up the "extraordinary circumstances" they believe will justify a filibuster. You can thank the Gang of 14 for the debacle of the show-trial Samuel Alito endured this week.

And where, exactly, have the nominations of Brett Kavanaugh and Henry Saad gone?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 15, 2006 2:04 PM

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