Pickering debate moves to Senate
By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Oct. 24, 2003
The fate of Judge Charles Pickering's nomination to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals likely will be decided next week, U.S. Sen. Trent Lott said Thursday.
Pickering's nomination heads to full Senate more than a year after the Senate Judiciary Committee blocked it in 2002. Democrats are threatening to filibuster the nomination and Lott is working to prevent that.
Democrats thwarted Pickering's nomination last year in the Senate Judiciary Committee. At that time, Democrats controlled the committee and blocked the nomination by a 10-9 vote.
Democrats complained that Pickering, the father of Republican 3rd District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, was too conservative. Some Democrats even said the judge was insensitive to minorities.
Since the November 2002 federal elections, Republicans re-gained control of the Senate and its committees. Judge Pickering's nomination already has cleared the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee.
Democrats, though, haven't given up. Lott said Pickering's nomination could hinge on whether Democrats stage a successful filibuster a tactic that already has delayed other Bush nominees.
Without a filibuster, which would take 60 votes to overturn, Lott said he believes he has the votes to win the nomination for Pickering.
If Democrats filibuster the nomination, Lott said, "that's a big order" to overcome.