Sunday, October 02, 2005

Senator Bill Frist

We've been frustrated that the filibuster/obstruction of judicial nominees by the Senate Democrat minority was allowed to continue for so long. This has led us to question Senate Majority Leader Frist's leadership and toughness.

We may have to change our view. Manuel Miranda, former counsel to the senator, argues in his OpinionJournal column, The Next Justices, that Frist's work is largely responsible for breaking the logjam.
"Sam's father urged me to speak to his remarkable son because Sam has another hero, the senator who caused him to notice Senate politics and the battle for the courts: Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. Mr. Frist deserves credit not only for Sam's awareness of the third branch of government and the Senate's stewardship of the judiciary, but also for the success of the Roberts nomination.

Yesterday Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed on time by the Senate and sworn in. At any moment, the president will nominate a replacement for Justice O'Connor. Hearings for that nominee will likely begin in early November, with a final vote just before or after Thanksgiving. While the Roberts process was a dud as far as national controversies go, live fire is expected in the next fight, whether the nominee deserves it or not. With his next pick, President Bush will gamble the future of his party. But the freedom to nominate whoever he wishes, that he will exercise or squander, was preserved for him first by Americans who elected a Senate Republican majority, and second by Mr. Frist, who made that election have consequences when he put the judicial filibuster tiger back into its cage earlier this year."

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