The Senate deal giving some of President Bush's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor makes one thing clear: it is all about the Supreme Court of the United States.
With the Senate compromise, Priscilla Owen was confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - after more than four years of waiting. Votes on other nominees will be coming soon. The nomination of Bill Pryor, former Alabama Attorney General who was named to a seat on the 11th circuit by President Bush in a recess appointment, could come up in the Senate next week and receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor within days of that happening.
It is important to understand that the "constitutional" option to change the Senate rules eliminating the use of the judicial filibuster is still very much alive - very much on the table. While the battle over the filibuster was put off for another day, it is also clear that all of this will surface again once there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States.
The speculation intensifies in Washington concerning the health of Chief Justice Rehnquist and his desire to step down from the high court - a move that many are expecting to occur in a matter of weeks when the Supreme Court term concludes.
When a Supreme Court nominee is made by President Bush, what will the Senators who made the compromise do? Will they consider the nominee "extraordinary circumstances" and move to filibuster. Will Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist exercise his right and implement the "constitutional" option - moving for a simple majority vote to eliminate the use of the judicial filibuster?
While no one can predict exactly what will happen, the ACLJ Office of Governmental Affairs is working on all positibilities and ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow has in place a strategic plan that will be implemented once an opening occurs on the high court and President Bush puts forth a nominee. This is a very important time in our country and the ACLJ is prepared to move swiftly and aggressively in this area.