On the Sunday talk-show circuit this morning, Republicans said they don’t expect a GOP filibuster of President Obama’s next nominee to the Supreme Court — but they wouldn’t rule it out, either. Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said as long as the nominee is in the mainstream there won’t be any reason to use it.
Arizona Senator John Kyl echoed Sessions on ABC’s This Week, saying a filibuster was “unlikely” except under “extraordinary circumstances.” And Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who was also on This Week, said the chances of a filibuster are “tiny” since it’s “just about a certainty that [Obama] will nominate someone in the mainstream.”
On the surface it might seem like this means there won’t be any problems with Obama’s nominee. But that probably won’t be the case. Just because Sessions and Schumer are both talking about the mainstream doesn’t mean they’re talking about the same thing. A candidate who Schumer and Obama think is mainstream may be the second coming of Stalin to Republicans. The real question here seems to be whether the GOP wants another fight, which might go a long way toward energizing the base before the midterm elections but would also give Democrats more fuel to add to the “Party of No” fire. Whatever the answer, we’re likely to find out soon. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy says the Senate should “wrap this up this summer.”
GOP Senators: Filibuster of Supreme Court nominee ‘unlikely’ [WP]
Supreme Court: Republicans May Filibuster Obama’s Nominee To Replace Justice John Paul Stevens [AP via HuffPo]