Yes, some important issues before Senate

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Democrats won, or so they think …

It took 40 hours of marathon speeches in the Senate last week,but the Democrats succeeded in blocking votes on three of PresidentBush’s appeals court choices.

Republicans say their Senate counterparts unfairly deprived thenominees of their positions, and we agree. The GOP set up the twonights of speeches, which were described as sometimes boring andsometimes angry, in an an effort to overcome Democratic resistanceto the Bush nominees. On three successive votes, Republicans failedto muster the 60 votes needed.

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With a 53-42 vote, Democrats succeeded in stopping furtheraction on the nomination of Texas judge Priscilla Owen to a seat ona U.S. appeals court. It was the fourth time Democrats have blockedthe Owen nomination.

They also voted 53-43 on California judge Carolyn Kuhl and 53-43on another California judge, Janice Rogers Brown. So, the list ofBush nominees stopped by the Senate, which already includedMississippi judge Charles Pickering, Alabama Attorney GeneralWilliam Pryor and Hispanic lawyer Miguel Estrada, is growing.

Democrats also said they won the debate by showing that the GOPis focused on the wrong issues. Spending two legislative daystalking about judicial nominees instead of finishing billsrevamping Medicare and energy policy, not to mention eight overduespending bills, in time to adjourn by Nov. 21 is not good policy,they say.

”I think people are amused and wondering why the Senate isn’tworking on more important things,” said Senate Minority Leader TomDaschle of South Dakota.

His point is well-taken, but it seems to us the pot is callingthe kettle black.