Frist’s two-month delay has given liberals a chance to strategize, raise money and air television ads attacking GOP senators who might be vulnerable on the “nuclear option”–a Senate rule change that would prohibit the filibuster of judges. People For the American Way is spending $5 million on ads, including one launched last Wednesday featuring the fictional Sen. Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart), who made the filibuster famous in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. There’s only one problem, notes the conservative Committee for Justice: The filibuster in the movie was directed at legislation, not judicial nominees. “While the legislative filibuster does have a long pedigree,” said CFJ chairman C. Boyden Gray, “permanent filibuster of judicial nominees with clear majority support is unprecedented in Senate history before 2003, when Democrats employed filibusters against 10 of the President’s 34 appellate nominees.”
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