<center><h1><font color=CC0000>Nuclear option defused...for now.</font></h1></center> Last night, common sense prevailed, and Senate moderates including Senators Byrd, DeWine, Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, Lieberman, Salazar, Inouye, Warner, McCain, Snowe, Collins, Graham and Chafee, reached a compromise ont the issue of judiciak filibusters. Like all compromises, it is not perfect, and fails to satisfy the extreme elements on both sides of the argument. But the power to filibuster judicial nominees remains. Unfortunately, as part of this compromise, Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor some of the most extreme right-wing of Dubbyuh's picks will be voted on. James Dobson, of <i>Focus On the Family</i>, immediately put in his two-cents worth, claiming that, <blockquote><a href=http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=47847>This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three of President Bushs nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote, and it's business as usual for all the rest. The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed.</a></blockquote> A "...complete bailout and betrayal..." by <i><b>moderate</b></i> Republicans. He further goes on to decry the judicial filibuster as "unconstitutional". How can anyone take seriously the man who 'outed' Sponge Bob Squarepants? While not mentioned specifically in the Constitution, the <a href=http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Filibuster_Cloture.htm>filibuster</a> has been used since 1841, with the only significant change to Senate rules on the matter coming in 1917, when the cloture rule was put into place. Since then, it has remained a powerful tool for minorities, on both sides of the Senate aisle, to further debate on a given issue or nomination, protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. More significantly though, is that moderate Republicans were willing to sidestep the Republican leadership in Congress that was pushing for the "nuclear option", especially Bill Frist. It was Frist, after all, who went contrary to the Administrations's desire to have John Bolton's nominaation brought to the floor before the judicial nominations. In doing so, he hoped to cement the support of religious far right-wing for a run for the White House in 2008. Now, however, he's been rolled and how much politcal capital he he has left with that raucus and fickle minority remains to be seen. This can be seen as the first step in a return to common-sense and sanity in the Senate. Or, as I fear it will be, it can be seen as the first volley in a battle leading to further extremism and polarization in the halls of Congress.