Republicans went on the offensive Tuesday, charging that a Democratic filibuster of Miguel Estrada’s appeals court nomination would thwart the Constitution.
Democrats are considering blocking a vote on Estrada, President Bush’s pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and a potential future candidate for the Supreme Court. They are expected to make a decision following Tuesday’s party policy lunches.
The Constitution only requires judicial nominees to garner 51 Senate votes to ascend to the federal bench, but it takes 60 to break a filibuster. Therefore, Democrats are trying to change the Constitution by effectively requiring Estrada to get 60 votes, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said.
If Democrats mount a filibuster, it would hold Estrada to a higher standard than any other nominee to a lower court, she said.
Republican Conference Chairman Rick Sanatorum (Pa.) said the leadership has “no intention” of filing for cloture, a procedural maneuver that ends a filibuster by cutting off debate and forcing a vote.
“We’re not going to raise the bar to 60 votes,” he said.
For more on the Estrada nomination, see Wednesday’s Roll Call newspaper.