A new round of Senate battles began Tuesday over President Bush's judicial nominations. White House lawyer Brett Kavanaugh went before the Senate Judiciary Committee to warrant a seat on the District of Columbia Federal Court of Appeals.
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KWAME Forty-one-year-old White House lawyer Brett Kavanaugh said all the right things before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, at least as far as committee Republicans were concerned.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. Court of Appeals Nominee: I have dedicated my career to public service. I revere the rule of law. I know firsthand the central role of the courts in protecting the rights and the liberties of the people.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), Utah: You've made public service your life, and I don't see how we can find a better person to serve and give public service than you.
But Democrats were unanimous in suggesting Kavanaugh is too young, too inexperienced, too conservative, or too partisan to warrant a seat on the District of Columbia Federal Court of Appeals.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), New York: If there's been a partisan, political fight that needed a very bright legal foot-soldier in the last decade, Brett Kavanaugh was probably there.
There was a time when Senate Democrats could rely on a procedural maneuver known as the filibuster to block a vote on the president's nominees, those they considered unacceptable, but times have changed. The Gang of 14, those seven Democrats and seven Republicans who organized last year to vote as a bloc on judicial nominees, has broken the Senate logjam on several nominations and, ever since, taken the filibuster out of play.
Senate Majority Leader:
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), We need to keep up the momentum and keep driving forward so that each and every nominee gets a fair up-or-down vote here on the floor of the Senate.