The Hill: "Dems hint at filibuster"

Senate Democrats appeared to lay the groundwork yesterday for a possible filibuster of Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, setting the stage for an intense partisan showdown that could culminate with the so-called “nuclear option.”

“Nothing is on the table, and nothing is off the table,” Senate Judiciary Committee member Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said within hours of President Bush’s announcement that he had picked Alito to replace Harriet Miers. Miers’s nomination to the high court was withdrawn last week amid heavy criticism from conservative Republicans who feared she would not be sufficiently loyal to their orthodoxy.

Though Democrats carefully avoided using the term “filibuster” yesterday, many of them criticized Bush for picking Alito, a conservative stalwart.

“I am concerned that the nomination may be a needlessly provocative nomination,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “Instead of uniting the country, the president chose to reward one faction of his party.” . . .

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