The White House is preparing to send a raft of new judicial nominations to the Senate in the next few weeks, according to Republican strategists inside and outside the administration — a move that could challenge the durability of last week’s bipartisan filibuster deal and reignite the political warfare it was intended to halt, according to the Washington Post. The Bush administration has been vetting candidates for 30 more federal district and appeals court vacancies that have been left open for months while the Senate battled over previous nominations stalled by Democrats. Now that Democrats have agreed not to filibuster any new candidates except in “extraordinary circumstances,” Republicans are eager to test the proposition.
On experts said he expects “a large swath” of nominations in the next few weeks unless Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist or another Supreme Court justice decides to step down at the end of the term later this month. No names have been publicly floated, but officials familiar with the process said they believe the nominees will be consistent with Bush’s previous choices, some of whom have stirred considerable controversy among Democrats. Although less dramatic than a Supreme Court fight, a flood of lower-court nominations would surely touch off a new round of conflict, with interest groups on both sides primed for battle. Bush wants to reshape the federal court system with more conservative judges who will rein in what he and supporters see as an overly activist bench, while liberals view many of his nominees as extremists.