Sessions dismisses possibility of filibuster

The senator who'll lead GOP efforts against Sonia Sotomayor isn't ruling out a filibuster, but isn't predicting one

By Alex Koppelman
Published May 27, 2009 4:40PM (EDT)

With the defection of Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions holds the GOP's top spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As such, he'll be leading his party during hearings on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. And while he doesn't exactly sound enthusiastic about Sotomayor -- and has voted against her before -- he's not predicting a filibuster, either.

During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Sessions was asked, "You're not putting the filibuster option on the table, are you?"

He responded, "Well, you never know on a case like this. I don't feel -- I don't sense a filibuster in the works. The nominee has serious problems. Those kinds of things that might happen.

"But I would think that we need to all have a good hearing, take our time, and do it right. And then the senators cast their vote up or down based on whether or not they think this is the kind of judge that should be on the court."

That "cast their vote up or down" language is important -- it's the phrasing Republicans used when they opposed Democratic filibusters of President Bush's nominees, and, the way he's using it, further emphasizes that he doesn't believe there'll be a filibuster of Sotomayor.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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