Filibustering Alito is a waste of time

A small band of Senate Democrats should give up plans to filibuster
Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court and let the final vote
proceed on Tuesday as scheduled.

Filibusters are a useful parliamentary tactic to try to kill an
unacceptable bill or nomination or to delay legislation that has been
insufficiently examined.

The Democrats can’t kill the
nomination. When it comes before the full Senate, it will pass handily,
supported by all the Republicans and at least three and maybe more

A filibuster may delay a vote, but not for long. With
lukewarm Democratic support for a stalling talkathon, the Senate
leadership would eventually muster the votes for cloture. If Alito is
approved Tuesday, he could, if he wished, join his new colleagues at
the president’s State of the Union address that night. It would be
mean-spirited and petty to deny him that honor.

And after
grueling hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee Alito is hardly
an unknown quantity demanding further debate. Even Senate Democratic
Leader Harry Reid says, “There’s been adequate time for people to
debate. No one can complain on this matter that there hasn’t been
sufficient time to talk about Judge Alito, pro or con.”

Alito is
an experienced judge, rated highly by his peers, and the worst that the
Democrats could find to say about him is that the party in power —
President Bush and the Republicans — admire his judicial philosophy.
That’s why we have elections.

His critics say he is too prone to
favor the government over individual rights, and Alito, in as much as
judges are swayed by the prospect of intensive scrutiny, has been put
on notice.

A filibuster now would obstruction for the sake of obstruction. He should be confirmed as planned. This fight is over.

(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)