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
    Democrats.

    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)SHNS.com)