After months of threats, posturing and negotiation by senators from both parties, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to begin debate this morning on one of President Bush's most controversial &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/98/387/11284_politics.html ' target=_blank>judicial nominees, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla R. Owen.
The nomination is likely to touch off a struggle over whether senators in the minority party will retain their ability to block judicial nominees with a filibuster, reports the Post-Gazette.
A small group of moderate senators worked furiously behind the scenes to head off a clash over whether the parliamentary tactic of the filibuster can be used to block judicial nominees. If majority Republicans opt to change the rules to disallow filibusters of judicial nominees a move dubbed the "nuclear option" parliamentary warfare between Democrats and Republicans could escalate and stall Bush's legislative agenda.
After meeting with Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown who were blocked by Democrats during Bush's first term Republicans announced that Owen's nomination for an appeals court seat will be the vehicle for the attempt to prohibit Democrats from filibustering judicial nominations.
The two women, who are among Bush's most-wanted judicial nominees, met with the president at the White House and later with &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/usa/2001/05/29/6248.html ' target=_blank>Senate GOP leaders at the Capitol.
Owen and Brown did not speak to the media at either location, though they appeared at a photo shoot with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.