Democratic aides say Alito filibuster 'highly unlikely'

John Byrne
Published: January 12, 2006

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Despite hopes in liberal circles that Democratic senators will block the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, several Democratic aides to senators on the Judiciary Committee have privately told RAW STORY that such a prospect is highly unlikely.

After Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) remarked that a Democratic filibuster was a "definite possibility" late Wednesday, some liberal blogs championed the possibility that Alito might be stopped. But this scenario is unlikely, aides say.

There's "not much discussion" of a filibuster, said one veteran Democratic Judiciary Committee aide Thursday, who called the move in which 40 senators block the confirmation of a presidential nominee, "very unlikely."


The only prospect of an Alito filibuster, the aide said, would be if Alito flat out declared that he opposed Roe v. Wade, the court ruling which legalized abortion. Aides said that Alito's ability to deflect questions and give vague answers all but ensured he would be confirmed, despite the objections of many Democrats.

Senior aides to Judiciary Committee Democrats dubbed the prospect of a filibuster highly unlikely. A third aide to a senator not on the committee said the filibuster was not off the table.

Even if Democrats were to embrace the move, it would be difficult to amass the requisite 40 votes.

Officially, Democrats have not taken a position on filibustering the nominee. Judiciary Committee Democratic spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, who works for ranking Judiciary Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), said the nominee was still in the question and answer stage.

"It's too early," Schmaler said.


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