News Articles

GOP falls short in attempt to break Estrada filibuster

WASHINGTON (BP)–Republicans failed to gain enough votes March 5 to stop a filibuster in the U.S. Senate on federal appeals court nominee Miguel Estrada.

Needing 60 votes, GOP senators fell five votes short. The 55-44 tally included only four Democratic votes — Zell Miller of Georgia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida and John Breaux of Louisiana, the Associated Press reported.

Estrada, nominated two years ago, is trying to become the first Hispanic to serve the court of appeals in the District of Columbia. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said the Senate may try to stop the filibuster at a later date, but will now move on to other business, AP reported. The news service added that Republicans say they are not going to withdraw the nomination.

“If we need to, we will vote on cloture again and again,” Frist said. “Let me be clear: the majority will press for an up and down vote on this nominee until Miguel Estrada is confirmed.”

Minority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said the outcome is not going to change.

“The vote will not change regardless of how many votes are cast,” Daschle said, according to AP. “We feel strongly as a caucus and will continue to hold our position as a caucus.”

Estrada would become only the second judicial nominee to ever be stopped via a Senate filibuster. In 1968 the Senate used a filibuster to stop Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas from becoming chief justice. He resigned from the court the following year.

Just last month Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called for the filibuster to be broken.
“These senators appear not willing to live with the will of the people who spoke during the 2002 elections and removed their party from power in the Senate,” he said on the radio program “Richard Land Live.”
“The Constitution says the U.S. Senate is to provide advice and consent, or dissent,” Land said, “not advice and obstruction.”
Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida missed the cloture vote.

    About the Author

  • Staff