Feinstein on a Filibuster

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Feinstein on a Filibuster

I'm trying to decipher a recent quote by Sen. Diane Feinstein of California. From a story written this past weekend by AP reporter Hope Yen:
A Democrat who plans to vote against Samuel Alito sided on Sunday with a Republican colleague on the Senate Judiciary Committee in cautioning against a filibuster of the Supreme Court nominee.

"I do not see a likelihood of a filibuster," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "This might be a man I disagree with, but it doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court."
If she doesn't think think her concerns "mean he shouldn't be on the court," then why is she planning to vote against him? Will her "no" vote be nothing more than a symbolic message?

Perhaps it's a crazy assumption, but I always thought senators who voted "no" on a presidential nominee did so precisely because they didn't believe that individual deserved or was qualified to serve in that capacity.

I'm not recommending a filibuster, but I am a little perplexed by Feinstein's words. Perhaps she meant that Alito didn't deserve to be on the court but that the concerns that Dems have don't justify the extraordinary step of a filibuster. But that's not what she said.

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