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   Evolution of a deal on Senate fight over judicial nominees

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5/28/2005 1:00 pm

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Entered 5/29/2005, Updated 5/29/2005

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AP article on The Stamford Advocate. An excerpt... "The signatures of 14 Senate centrists, seven from each party, spilled across the last page of a hard-won compromise on President Bush's judicial nominees. But whatever elation the negotiators felt, the Senate's Democratic leader did not share it. In the privacy of his Capitol office last Monday night, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., asked for commitments from six Democrats fresh from the talks. Would they pledge to support filibusters against Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, two nominees not specifically covered by the pact with Republicans? Some of the Democrats agreed. At least one, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, declined. Details of Reid's attempt to kill the two nominations within minutes of the agreement, as well as other events during this tumultuous time, were obtained by The Associated Press in interviews with senators and aides in both parties. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing confidentiality pledges. The conversation in Reid's office was among the final acts of a drama that played out unpredictably over several weeks. It culminated in a deal that cleared the way for votes on some nominees long blocked by Democrats, left other nominees in limbo and averted a bruising fight over the Senate's filibuster rules. "I think the place would have shut down or been severely disrupted had there been that bitter vote," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Instead, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen was confirmed last week to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a four-year wait. Other nominees advanced. Yet soon after, partisanship flared anew, this time over the nomination of John R. Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations."


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