Specter Speaks:

Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) gave a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Times this week, sharing his “game plan” for handling President Bush’s judicial nominees once they are officially sent to the Senate for consideration.

Specter wants to lead with former Interior Department Solicitor William G. Myers III, whom Senate Democrats blocked from a seat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last July. Myers received only 53 votes, but had the support of Senators Joe Biden (D.-Del.) and Ben Nelson (D.-Neb.). Specter thought he would also have the support of new Sen. Ken Salazar (D.-Colo.) and maybe even of liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.), who supports ideological balance on the 9th Circuit. With all those Democrats on board, Specter would avoid a contentious floor fight and possible filibuster. Besides, he told the Times, he doesn’t favor the “nuclear option” to change the Senate’s filibuster rule. “I’m not going to jump off that bridge until I come to it and I hope I don’t come to it,” he said.