US Senate hasn`t solved the problem of judicial nominations

In an institution that prides itself as a last bastion of civility, the Senate's new Democratic leader has on occasion turned to playground taunts and name-calling in his four-month tenure.

After accusing President Bush of lying about his role in a fight over judicial filibusters, Sen. Harry Reid last week called the president a "loser." And Federal Reserve Chairman &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Alan Greenspan? He's a "political hack," according to the formerly soft-spoken Nevada Democrat.

Reid returned to the Senate floor Monday with a more conciliatory tone and what he called "a gesture of goodwill," calling for the first time for the confirmation of one of Bush's appeals court nominees that Democrats blocked in the last Congress, reports the Washington Post. According to the Australian, the call by Republicans to override the right of Democrats to use filibuster tactics in the Senate to block the nominations has prompted the Democrats to warn they will shut down the business of government in Congress, derailing Mr Bush's second-term legislative agenda.

Moderates from both sides are urging a compromise. But Republican Senate leader &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Bill Frist, who is supported by the religious Right and is believed to be angling for a presidential nomination in 2008, has left no room for a peace deal, and any backdown now risks a ferocious response from his supporters.

The crisis has prompted Mr Bush to demand a vote on his nominations, and he marked the fourth anniversary yesterday of his nomination of judges Priscilla Owen and Terry Boyle to serve on the federal courts of appeals with a statement saying the delays to the vote were unprecedented.

The dispute over the President's &to=http:// ' target=_blank>judicial nominations has been heating up since he announced, fresh into his first term, his candidates for the lifelong positions - nominations the Democrats vowed to block on the basis they were seen to be far too right-wing.

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