Fourteen Democrats and Republicans in the Senate struck a deal last night that averts the so-called “nuclear option” and preserves the right to filibuster judicial nominees for now. The deal allows a simple majority vote on three of the most anti-women’s and civil rights judicial nominees while giving Democrats the opportunity to filibuster two other extreme right-wing nominees. The deal will also allow filibusters to be used against judicial nominees only in “extraordinary circumstances.”
“Will saving women’s lives, women’s rights, and civil rights be considered such an extraordinary circumstance?,” asked Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “If the records of the three anti-women’s rights, anti-civil rights nominees who will not be filibustered under the deal are to be the standard, then these rights are in grave peril.”
“But at least we have a chance,” she continued. “Without any possibility of a filibuster, we would have a very slim chance indeed under the present circumstances of blocking an extreme anti-women’s rights and civil rights Supreme Court nominee.”
The vote on the first nominee to move forward under this deal, Priscilla Owen, is scheduled for tomorrow. Owen is a Big Business nominee who tried to weaken discrimination protections in employment. As a Texas Supreme Court justice, she has consistently rules against a woman’s right to choose and consumers’ rights. Owen’s opinions also show a consistent hostility toward employee rights and discrimination protections, public information rights, and environmental protection.