Monday, June 6, 2005

Senate Democrats are expected to surrender their filibuster of a second Bush judicial nominee today when they agree to a final vote on California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, nominated nearly two years ago to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

A cloture vote, which shuts off debate on the nominee, is scheduled for noon. It will be the first opportunity to end debate on Justice Rogers — and thus the filibuster against her — since seven Democrats and seven Republicans agreed last month to defy their respective parties’ leadership to end the standoff on judicial nominees.

After convening yesterday afternoon, the Senate spent several hours debating Justice Brown’s nomination. Republicans applauded her rise from humble beginnings and her judicial wisdom, while Democrats accused her of “judicial activism” and criticized statements she’s made in speeches.

If cloture — which requires 60 votes to occur — is approved, a final confirmation vote on Justice Brown will follow later today or possibly tomorrow.

Immediately after that vote, the Senate will take up the nomination of former Alabama Attorney General William H. Pryor, who is nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. A final vote on Judge Pryor, who serves on that panel in a temporary capacity, is expected later this week.

Justice Brown and Judge Pryor are two of three Bush nominees guaranteed final votes under last month’s agreement. The first nominee to see the filibuster against her lifted was Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, who was sworn in yesterday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

“The heated rhetoric, unfounded attacks, and distortions of Justice Priscilla Owen’s record over the past four years have ended, and this outstanding jurist will finally take her place on the 5th Circuit,” Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said after Justice Owen was sworn in. “The president made an outstanding choice when he nominated Justice Owen, and her confirmation was long overdue.”

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