Tomorrow, Senate Majority "Leader" (TBD) Bill Frist will bring to the floor Judge Priscilla Owen, the first of those who were filibustered during the last Congress. Others have stated on various websites the importance of this issue. (My favorite: www.confirmthem.com
For the first time in history during President George W. Bush's first term, the Democrats used the filibuster to obstruct a President's judicial nominee.
They did this with not one judge, but ten.
These filibusters are unconstitutional, as they prevent the Senate from giving their advice and consent on the nominees.
Republicans have a solution available in the constitutional option, a change in the rules that would conform Senate rules to the Constitution.
Democrats have complained that Republicans are abusing power while engaging in an unconstitutional tactic because they're upset that they've lost five straight elections.
Republicans have wavered on changing the interpretation of the rules, but most have come home and will support the change.
Democrats are universally against a rule change.
Some Senators, notably McCain, Nelson (NE) and Pryor, are attempting to have it both ways without restoring the Constitution.
Where things stand:
51 votes, including the President of the Senate, are needed to conform Senate rules to the Constitution.
44 Democrats plus Jeffords, McCain, Snowe, and Chafee oppose the change.
At least 47 Republicans support the change.
Sen. Collins is thought to have made up her mind and to have decided against the change, but this is not certain.
Senators Murkowski, Warner, Hagel, and Specter are expected to decide the vote.
What to do:
If you have not already done so, contact your Senators and demand an up or down vote on ALL of the President's judicial nominees. Make it clear that any compromise that does not guarantee an up or down vote on every
nominee or leaves open the possibility of filibustering judicial nominees in the future is not acceptable.