"Republicans seek to right a wrong that has undermined 214 years of tradition - wise, carefully thought-out tradition. The fact that the Senate rules theoretically allowed the filibuster of judicial nominations but were never used to that end is an important indicator of what is right, and why the precedent of allowing up-or-down votes is so well established. It is that precedent that has been attacked and which we seek to restore....But now he suggests he's willing to lead the filibustering against any Obama nominee who uses empathy:
My friends argue that Republicans may want to filibuster a future Democratic President's nominees. To that I say, I don't think so, and even if true, I'm willing to give up that tool. It was never a power we thought we had in the past, and it is not one likely to be used in the future. I know some insist that we will someday want to block Democrat judges by filibuster. But I know my colleagues. I have heard them speak passionately, publicly and privately, about the injustice done to filibustered nominees. I think it highly unlikely that they will shift their views simply because the political worm has turned."
The Senate's No. 2 Republican on Sunday refused to rule out an effort to block confirmation if President Barack Obama seeks a Supreme Court justice who decides cases based on "emotions or feelings or preconceived ideas."(Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.)
Sen. Jon Kyl made clear he would use a filibuster, a procedural move to delay a final vote on a bill or nominee, if Obama follows through on his pledge to nominate someone who takes into account human suffering and employs empathy from the bench.
UPDATE (May 28, 2009): Kyl continues to expand upon his hypocrisy on this issue:
Kyl, when Bush was in office, about the lack of necessity for long hearings on judicial nominees:
One might wonder why we would need more than just a couple of days of debate (the average of recent nominees is two to three days), especially since nothing new has been said for weeks. But, if the public has noticed anything during this process it is that senators value their right of unlimited debate.Kyl on the need for long hearings on judicial nominees, now that Obama is in office:
"To that end, when John Roberts was first nominated on July 19, 2005, and subsequently re-nominated to be Chief Justice on September 6, 2005, Senate Republicans afforded the minority ample time to adequately examine his background and qualifications before he received a confirmation vote 73 days later.There's a bit of further irony here in that the delay for Alito's hearing, originally scheduled for December 2005 but moved to January 2006, was caused by Republican Senators Kyl and Mike DeWine (R-OH), because they needed the time for campaigning for re-election in their home districts.
"When Samuel Alito was first nominated on October 31, 2005, the minority was afforded 93 days before he received a confirmation vote on January 31, 2006.
"I would expect that Senate Democrats will afford the minority the same courtesy as we move forward with this process."