To more effectively oppose Supreme Court nominees in the future,
Democrats need to convince the public “their values are at stake”
rather than use stalling tactics to try to thwart the president, said a
senator who opposes Samuel Alito’s confirmation.
Obama, D-Ill., predicted on Sunday that an effort to try to block a
final vote on Alito would fail on Monday. That would clear the way for
Senate approval Tuesday of the federal appeals court judge picked to
succeed the retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Democrats fear he would shift the court rightward on abortion rights, affirmative action, the death penalty and other issues.
need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that, if
we’re going to oppose a nominee that we’ve got to persuade the American
people that, in fact, their values are at stake,” Obama said.
“There is an over-reliance on the part of Democrats for procedural maneuvers,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”
John Kerry and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts are urging fellow Democrats
to support a filibuster, citing in part Alito’s conservative record on
abortion and deference to executive power.
Alito’s supporters must produce 60 votes to cut off a filibuster; an Associated Press tally shows at least 62.
AP tally also shows that at least 53 Republicans and three Democrats
intend to vote to confirm Alito; that is well over the required
President Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio
address that senators should have an up-or-down on a nominee “who
understands that the role of a judge is to strictly interpret the law.”
Obama cast Alito as a judge “who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values.”
Obama joined some Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry Reid of
Nevada and Charles Schumer of New York, in expressing his unhappiness
with the filibuster bid.
“There’s one way to guarantee that the
judges who are appointed to the Supreme Court are judges that reflect
our values. And that’s to win elections,” Obama said.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said he, too, would support the filibuster attempt but agreed that it was not particularly wise.
think a filibuster make sense when you have a prospect of actually
succeeding,” Biden said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “I will vote one time
to say to continue the debate. but the truth of the matter” is that
Alito will be confirmed, he said.