It finally looks as if this thing will come to a head next week. Using the spine that God gave him, Bill Frist will force the issue using the "Constutional option" to insure an up or down vote on judicial nominees if it becomes neccessary.
May 13th, 2005 - Upon completion of action on the pending highway bill, the Senate will begin debate on fair up or down votes on judicial nominations. As is the regular order, the Leader will move to act on judge nominations sent to the full Senate by the Judiciary Committee in the past several weeks. Priscilla Owen, to serve as a judge for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Janice Rogers Brown, to serve as a judge for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, will be the nominees of focus.
The Majority Leader will continue to discuss an appropriate resolution of the need for fair up or down votes with the Minority Leader. If they can not find a way for the Senate to decide on fair up or down votes on judicial nominations, the Majority Leader will seek a ruling from the Presiding Officer regarding the appropriate length of time for debate on such nominees. After the ruling, he will ensure that every Senator has the opportunity to decide whether to restore the 214-year practice of fair up or down votes on judicial nominees; or, to enshrine a new veto by filibuster that both denies all Senators the opportunity to advise and consent and fundamentally disturbs the separation of powers between the branches.
Frist wouldn't be this bold if he didn't have the votes. My prediction, the Dims will back down on these 7 and hold the possible use of a filibuster for a Supreme Court nominee.