Arlen Specter is still new in his Chair post in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it's a tough place to be a moderate these days. He claims the intention to avoid the nuclear option
with regard to judicial appointments -- i.e., trying to negotiate with Democrats before contemplating changing the rules to prevent filibusters (which would likely to a virtual shut-down of Senate business in protest). Of course, over his shoulder...
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee gave Democrats until the end of last month to decide whether they wanted to continue the [10 current] filibusters. If so, he said, they may face the nuclear option the next time a judicial nominee comes to the floor.
Specter needs to walk a fine line on this stuff (and avoid the furor of his early announcements
) if he wants to keep his job. He also hopes to use that position to implement some of his other goals:
He wants to hold hearings on sentencing guidelines that the Supreme Court struck down last month, a move by the court, he said, that did not surprise him. Mr. Specter did not say whether he agreed with the high court's decision, but warned against reacting too swiftly.
. . .
The chairman also plans hearings on the Patriot Act and hopes to make it permanent.
I'm pretty darned excited about that last bit. I hope that every PA Democrat who stood up for this guy is in line for the early installation of home surveillance cameras....