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Reaching a compromise that preserves the filibuster power of the Senate over all judicial nominees is in the best interest of both parties and the country. Republicans have threatened to invoke the “nuclear option” of changing Senate rules to cut off Democratic filibusters of seven of President George W. Bush’s circuit court nominees. (Filibuster is any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by prolonged debate, procedural motions or any other delaying tactics, according to the U.S. Senate Web site glossary.) This move, which would apply to future nominees, is extremely unwise because it could end up working against Republicans if Democrats ever regain the majority. And it would upset the constitutionally granted function of the Senate to provide the president with meaningful input-with both “advice and consent”-on appointments. The move is opposed by two-thirds of those asked in an ABC News-Washington Post opinion poll, and it would no doubt go down in history as the Republican equivalent of court packing-President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s notorious but failed attempt to rig Supreme Court rulings by adding more justices. It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, and the Republicans hold 55 Senate seats. If Republicans change the rule, only a simple majority of 51 votes would be needed. The use of filibusters to block judicial nominees is nothing new, despite what Senator Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and others have said at various times. There have been at least a dozen since 1968, according to congressional records, including one in 2000 in a failed attempt to block a Clinton nominee, Richard Paez, now a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Also on the subject of judicial nominees, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown is proving with her own intemperate remarks that she does not deserve confirmation to the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, considered a steppingstone for the Supreme Court. On the same day that evangelical leaders held “Justice Sunday: Stop the Filibuster Against People of Faith,” Brown told a group of Catholic lawyers in Connecticut that “these are perilous times for people of faith,” and that a religious “war” is bitterly dividing the country. Brown has long been known as outspoken, but to speak of a religious war in the middle of a heated confirmation battle-what does that say, not about her faith, but about her judgment?

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