By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 1 minute ago
WASHINGTON – Centrists from both parties reached a compromise Monday night to avoid a showdown on
President Bush’s stalled judicial nominees and the Senate’s own filibuster rules, officials from both parties said.
These officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the agreement would clear the way for yes-or-no votes on some of Bush’s nominees, but make no guarantee.
Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush’s future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in “extraordinary circumstances.”
For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.
Under the agreement, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, nominated to a seat on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, would advance to a final confirmation vote.
Senate Republican leader Bill Frist has made her a test vote in a bruising showdown over the fate of several appeals courts nominees that Democrats blocked in the past and had threatened to block again.
With the series of climatic vote set for Tuesday, compromise-minded senators of both parties met in the office of Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., for a last stab at compromise
They arranged to make a formal anouncement at a news conference.
It was not immediately clear how the agreement would affect plans for an all-night Senate session, or how quickly Republicans would push for confirmation of Owen.
The compromise drew the support of six Republicans and six Democrats at a minimum, although the names were not immediately available.
Under a complicated situation in effect on the Senate floor, that meant that Democratic opponents would lack the support needed to sustain a filibuster against Owen and other nominees. At the same time, it meant Republicans would not be able to strip Democrats of their ability to filibuster.
The agreement came as majority leader Frist, R-Tenn. and Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. steered the Senate toward a showdown on Bush’s nominees and historic filibuster rules, under which a minority can prevent action unless the majority gains 60 votes.
The leaders of both parties cast the issue in historic terms.
Bah….C-Span was praying this wouldn’t happen tonight becuase the floor debates tomorrow would’ve been crazy but it looks like some sort of a deal has been agreed to. I don’t like this Owens character at all…..hell Bush’s own Attorney General (who’s no saint for those who don’t live in the US) has spoken out heavily against her in the past. You know someone is crazy when they’re to the right of Alberto Gonzales. I like how the Democrats put in the terms “extraordinary circumstances” into the agreement because it makes this agreement pretty much pointless. The filibuster lives for now…..and that my friends is good news.