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Senator Frist speaks

Our friends at the Tony Snow Show write:

On Today’s Tony Snow Show on Fox News Radio, Senate Majority Leader Frist acknowledges that he “will use the constitutional option” if needed and that “Yes, Yes” he believes he has the votes to pass it! He also says that anyone who attempts to use the filibuster will “pay a price.”

Here is the transcript in relevant part:

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Tony, this fellow, Judge Alito — and I’ve been with him all morning. I’ve been with his family, and he just left here a few minutes ago. He’s got a proven record. He’s a proven nominee that absolutely meets the highest standards of excellence in the United States of America.

I think the political posturing from the other side is absurd. I think it is disrespectful of the nominee, who wants America — and my colleagues, more importantly the latter. But once America sees who he is, they’re going to stand back and say, “He is smart, he’s intelligent, a man of integrity. A powerhouse, a powerhouse in the legal profession.” So I look up on all these comments from my colleagues as premature and political posturing. And, you know, if they continue it along the way, I think they’re going to pay a price?

SNOW: How so?

FRIST: Well, first of all — and I said this to the judge, and I said it to my colleagues. We have got to work together as a Senate to give this qualified nominee a dignified hearing and a fair up-or-down vote. If they want to throw the word “filibuster” around before, they have had hearings before, they have had the opportunity to go back and look at his records.

And if they are going to prejudge the outcome, it’s going to be a fight. And we are all ready for it. Listen, I hope there’s no filibuster. I stood on principle all along on the other hand, in spite of the Gang of 14, in spite of deals being cut, on that principle that these nominees deserve an up-or-down vote. And I haven’t cut deals in the past.

Obstructing judicial nominees should be a thing of the past. If the Democrats want to obstruct a nominee and not give us our constitutional right of advice and consent, an up-or-down vote, we’ll take it to the mat. If a filibuster comes back, I’m not going to hesitate to employ the constitutional option to get an up-or-down vote.

SNOW: In other words, you will say to Democrats, “OK, we’ve been playing Mr. Nice Guy, but we’re going to go ahead and vote on something that says, for the purposes of voting in the United States Senate, the Constitution requires only a majority vote. And therefore, filibusters will henceforth not be in order when it comes to judicial nominees for the federal bench by the president.

FRIST: That is correct, because the tyranny of the minority should not offend and take advantage of a system that clearly, clearly lays out in the Constitution advice and consent, meaning an up-or-down, fair, dignified up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate.

SNOW: Do you believe you have the votes to pass the constitutional option?

FRIST: Yes, yes. You know, and why do I say that so quickly? It’s because this is a proven nominee. He meets the highest standards of excellence in this country. And I have enough respect in this body, the United States Senate, the upper legislative body of the greatest country in the world, to act accordingly. And that is vote them up, vote them down. You can decide how you want to, but give this proven nominee with those highest standards of excellence a vote.

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