"The potential deal, spearheaded by Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), would involve at least a half-dozen Senators from each party signing a letter or memorandum of understanding that signals how they would proceed to vote on all matters related to judicial nominations."
"The six Senate Republicans would commit to opposing the so-called nuclear option to end judicial filibusters, which would leave GOP leaders short of the 50 votes they need to execute the parliamentary move to abolish the procedure."
"In exchange, the six Senate Democrats would pledge to allow votes on four of the seven circuit court nominees who were already filibustered in the 108th Congress and have been renominated."
"Perhaps more importantly, the six Democrats would pledge to vote for cloture to end filibuster attempts on all other judicial nominees named by President Bush, including Supreme Court picks, except in 'extreme circumstances' according to a senior aide familiar with the discussions."
The Washington Post's Chuck Babington wraps the filibuster lobbying that's on the verge of a boil as the Senate returns from recess this week. LINK
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook portrayed the fight over the filibuster as a train wreck no one can look away from, and compared it to the government shutdown of 1995-96. She also made an especially salient point about issues like the filibuster and its importance to both sides' core constituencies, though not necessarily to voters at large, and the risk that both parties are taking by moving toward noisy fights that most interest their respective corners and not the middle. LINK
On Sunday, the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage offered up a great examination of the boiling rhetoric and outside influences that have greatly changed the process of selecting judges from a quiet search and consultation with the American Bar Association to litmus tests and ideological gamesmanship. LINK
On Sunday, the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray profiled Baptist minister Rick Scarborough of Texas, a key -- if perhaps less well-known -- player in the movement by Christian conservatives to push for the change in Senate rules to get rid of filibusters on judicial nominees. And one close to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and conservatives in the Senate. LINK
"It is a key test of the Christian right's political clout since last year's election, when Bush won a second term and Republicans strengthened their hold on Congress -- thanks in part to a record turnout of so-called 'values voters.' Anytime Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN.) or other GOP leaders appear to be backing away from a showdown with the Democrats over the filibuster, Scarborough and his backers are there to give them a shove. This helps to explain the protracted nature of the dispute and the challenge to GOP leaders to work out a compromise."
On Sunday, David Broder argued that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist should compromise and Senate Democrats should take a deal on the filibuster rule. LINK
Charles W. Pickering, Sr., he of recess appointment onto the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, calls for new legislation to ensure timely confirmation of judicial nominees in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Big casino budget politics: