The Washington Times has an extremely interesting story by Charles Hurt on the Gang of 14 and the Alito nomination: “Alito nomination to test ‘Gang of 14.'” I count this a good sign:
Most Republicans have said they support using the “nuclear option” to break any new filibusters against judicial nominees such as Judge Alito. But for Republicans to ban judicial filibusters, they need the support of at least three Republicans in the Gang of 14.
Four Republicans and two Democrats have found no “extraordinary circumstances” with the Alito nomination. Although that number is not enough to prevent Democrats from filibustering the nomination, it is enough to employ the nuclear option.
Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat, said he isn’t aware of any “extraordinary circumstances” and has “not heard any of my Democratic colleagues in the Gang of 14 talk about using the f-word, filibuster.”
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican and another group member, was largely positive about the nomination despite her “troubling concerns” about Judge Alito’s dissent in a 1991 case in which he said it was not an “undue burden” for a woman to notify her husband before an abortion.
“I do not yet see a basis for invoking extraordinary circumstances,” she said. “He clearly has the legal credentials, the professional excellence and the integrity required of a Supreme Court Justice.”
The Times article notes that the Gang of 14 will meet later this week. In the meantime, I wonder why it’s left to the Washington Times to explore this critical angle of the Alito confirmation in any depth.
UPDATE: Reader Rick Mons also refers us to this New York Times story by David Kirkpatrick and Carl Hulse: “Moderate Democrat in Senate sounds positive note on Alito.”