The Note: Intraparty Love and Warfare

The White House seems to have a different view, and "Indeed, Nelson and Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee, a Republican who opposed the nuclear option, said opponents probably lacked the votes to stop such a maneuver. If that tally carries over to a Supreme Court nomination, Bush would have more leverage to select a conservative along the lines of Judges Michael Luttig of the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Samuel Alito of the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit. Both have voted to limit the power of Congress to regulate local affairs and allow restrictions on abortion."

Adds Cummings in the Wall Street Journal: "For their part, liberal activists declared victory, noting (sic) that Democrats had preserved their right to filibuster future nominees deemed ' extraordinary. ' Nan Aron, head of the Alliance for Justice, one of the main organizers against Mr. Bush's court appointments, labeled all candidates rumored to be on the White House high-court short list as extraordinary choices. And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was quick to note (sic) he wasn't ruling out trying to use the filibuster, or continuous debate."

The Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein and Janet Hook write that President Bush and his Supreme Court nominee(s) are really in the driver's seat as to whether the agreement holds, and look at the various interpretations of what the deal means in terms of the ideology Democrats are willing to accept, the desire among senators for a stronger advice and consent role on judicial nominees, and what it could signify for ongoing bipartisan deal making on other issues. LINK

Write Kathy Kiely and Jim Drinkard of USA Today, determinedly optimistic that the deal could, if it doesn't fall apart, lead to more compromising, "The deal over Bush's judge nominees was a demonstration of how a small group of senators can have an outsized impact in the 100-member chamber. Republicans hold 55 seats, enough to compel action on most matters. But on controversial legislation, opponents can prevent action by mounting a filibuster -- an extended debate that takes 60 votes to end. Thus, even a solid GOP block still needs help from a few Democrats." LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Baker further sets up the "battle royale" yet to come over Supreme Court nominees -- and the consensus is that despite recent stumbling blocks, President Bush won't back down on his choices. LINK

". . . Bush is operating from a position of some weakness. With his approval ratings hovering in the mid-40s, the lowest of his presidency, he has struggled to find traction in the Republican Congress on his top domestic priority, restructuring Social Security. The House defied Bush's veto threat yesterday by voting to ease restrictions on stem cell research, and Congress is poised to send him a pricey highway bill over his objections. Looking ahead to a trying summer, the president cannot count on many easy wins. Even if the Senate confirms John R. Bolton as U.N. ambassador, it will have come after an ugly fight, analysts noted."

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post looks at the brief moment in the sun that bipartisanship and moderates enjoyed yesterday on the Hill. LINK

The Gang of 14 is still a crew of shiny, happy people, writes Roll Call's Paul Kane.

But the bipartisan love's fading fast, writes the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman. LINK

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