Rowan University Professor: ?The Truce May Be Over?

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In May, Senate Democrats and Republicans called an uneasy truce in their war over judicial nominations, narrowly avoiding a filibuster showdown. But that ceasefire may have ended with the retirement

O?Connor Resignation Could Revive Filibuster Battle

In May, Senate Democrats and Republicans called an uneasy truce in their war over judicial nominations, narrowly avoiding a filibuster showdown. But that ceasefire may have ended with the retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, according to Rowan University political science professor Dr. Larry Butler.

?The retirement announcement of Justice O'Connor has burst the dam that contained a raging national debate over the Supreme Court,? Butler said. ?In the eleven years since the last vacancy?the longest stretch of stability since the 1820s?both sides have prepared for this moment.?

In the absence of Supreme Court vacancies, the judicial tide shifted to the lower courts as Senate Democrats filibustered 10 of President Bush's nominees. This prompted threats from Senate Republicans to use the so-called ?nuclear option? to end such tactics. In May, the storm passed as 14 senators reached a deal safely navigating the Senate through these procedural rapids. But that agreement may not survive the floodgates opened by O?Connor?s resignation. ?Her position as the ideological ?middle? justice raises the stakes, putting the balance of the court on the line,? Butler said.

Dr. Larry Butler has written several articles in the congressional newspaper, ?The Hill,? on judicial nominations and filibusters and can discuss the processes and politics involved in both. An assistant professor of political science at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., Butler teaches courses in American government, Congress, campaigns and elections, the Presidency, political science research methods, and political parties and interest groups.

To arrange interviews with Dr. Butler, call the Rowan University Relations Department at 856-256-4583 or contact him directly at 856-256-4500, x3985.

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