Frist fingers the button again

The Republican senator says there'll be no deals with the Dems over Bush's judicial nominees.

Published April 26, 2005 6:46PM (EDT)

While Karl Rove has been prettying up President Bush's record on judicial nominees, some Democratic leaders have been considering painful compromise for the Senate review process. But Republican leader Bill Frist says there'll be no deals. He appears ready to exercise his Party's option -- reportedly within reach by only a vote or two -- to go nuclear.

"My goal is to have fair up and down votes. Are we going to shift from that principle? The answer to that is no," Frist said today, in a news conference conducted on the Senate floor. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid had been negotiating with Frist about confirming at least two of Bush's blocked nominees from Michigan in exchange for withdrawing a third nominee -- part of a compromise to avert a showdown over the GOP changing Senate rules in order to declaw Democrats who would filibuster Bush's nominees.

Frist said he would not advocate the withdrawal of any judicial nominee, insisting that any and all of them get confirmation votes. "That would mean people in the past as well as the future," he said.

Apparently the Republican leadership is ready to rewrite the rules of Congress and set off an all-out partisan war, even if a new national poll shows that two thirds of the American public -- and nearly half of Republican voters surveyed -- think it's a bad idea.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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