Schumer Uses the 'F' Word

Liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) was quoted in today’s New York Times threatening a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

"I think the hearings will determine what at least the Democrats and even some moderate Republicans do in terms of how they vote and whether we should try to block his nomination, meaning filibuster," Mr. Schumer said, referring to the procedural tactic that would allow a group of at least 41 senators to block confirmation by refusing to end debate.

As Sen. John Cornyn’s (R.-Tex.) office shrewdly points out, this now puts a Democrat on the record on the question of an Alito filibuster — something Democrats were quick to dismiss just weeks ago.

"As far as I can tell, the only person talking about a filibuster is Senator Frist and some of the far-right fringe groups," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.). "This kind of talk is silly and unhelpful."

Manley was referring to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R.-Tenn.) comments in mid-December about the possibility a filibuster and his desire to use the “nuclear option” should Democrats invoke the parliamentary tactic.