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SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Now is not right time for Democrats to fall on swords

Politics is the art of compromise. There are times when one must give a little on an issue in order to get what one wants on another issue.

The smart politician is one who knows when to give and when to take.

The esteemed U.S. senators from Massachusetts have greatly misjudged where the pending Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito falls.

Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called for a filibuster of Judge Alito's nomination. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., immediately fell in line behind Sen. Kerry.

Certainly, Sens. Kerry and Kennedy disagree with Judge Alito's conservatism. And the senators have every right to try to delay the vote that inevitably will result in Judge Alito's appointment to the high court, replacing moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

But just because the senators have that right doesn't make it right.

Judge Alito, during days of testimony and grilling before the Senate Judiciary Committee, displayed a vast knowledge of the law and an uncanny ability to make controversial topics seem mundane — even boring. His record, while conservative, displays fairness and impartiality. While his vote could swing the court to the right, he is well qualified for the position.

Last year, when Democrats threatened to filibuster many of President Bush's judicial nominees and Republicans countered with a threat to change Senate rules — the so-called nuclear option — to render the filibuster impotent, a bipartisan bloc of 14 moderate senators defused the showdown by vowing to use the filibuster only under extraordinary circumstances.

This is not one of those times.

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