Back on January 4, when the current session of the Senate commenced, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) gave a macho address warning that if Senate Democrats continued filibustering President Bush’s judicial nominees, Senate Republicans would change Senate rules to disallow such filibusters.
Back then, Frist vowed to call a vote on a Bush nominee in February to test Senate Democrats. “If my Democratic colleagues exercise self-restraint and don’t filibuster judicial nominees, Senate traditions will be restored,” Frist said. “It will then be unnecessary to change Senate procedures. Self-restraint on the use of the filibuster for nominations–the same self-restraint that Senate minorities exercised for more than two centuries–will alleviate the need for any action. But, if my Democratic colleagues continue to filibuster judicial nominees, the Senate will face this choice: Fail to do its constitutional duty, or reform itself, restore its traditions, and do what the Framers intended.” Now Frist’s threat is looking more and more like a bluff.