Senators Urged to Vote on Myers Judicial Nomination

By Jered Ede | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - U.S. Senate Republicans are wasting no time testing the agreement they reached with Democrats on ending judicial filibusters. Nine GOP senators Wednesday urged their majority leader, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, to schedule a vote on William G. Myers III.

Myers is President Bush's choice for a vacancy on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but his nomination has been blocked because of a Democratic filibuster.

Monday's deal between Republicans and Democrats paved the way for several of the president's controversial nominees to receive up or down votes in the full Senate and for Democrats to use future filibusters only in "extraordinary circumstances," in exchange for Republicans dropping the idea of changing Senate rules to get around the filibusters.

Myers was not specifically cleared for a vote by Democrats, but Republicans say his nomination should not be considered extraordinary either.

Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns called Myers "a man of strong character [who] would re-establish balance into the Ninth Circuit," in a statement released by his office.

On the same day the Senate was confirming Priscilla Owen to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a 56 to 43 vote, Burns was already looking ahead to how Democrats would treat Myers. "Let's see whether this was all talk," he said in his statement.

Senators Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Larry Craig (R-Idaho), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) all joined Burns in the call for a vote.

Democrats also agreed to up or down votes on the nominations of Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and William Pryor to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But the nominations of Myers and Henry Saad remain potential targets of Democrat stalling tactics.

"Everybody is waiting to see what can be defined as extraordinary circumstances," said Jack Finn, press secretary to Ensign. "The Ninth Circuit is not only ideologically at odds, but also dramatically overburdened," he told Cybercast News Service, adding that Myers would help solve those problems.

Frist stated on Monday that "if Owen, Pryor, and Brown can receive the courtesy and respect of a fair up or down vote, so can Myers and Saad."

Myers has waited for more than two-and-a-half years for a vote.

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