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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Sleepless in the Senate

Aired November 14, 2003 - 10:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I want to show you some drama that's taking place actually in Washington, D.C. right now. This is California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, talking about the Democrats sticking to a vote to continue the filibuster to block judicial nominees proposed by President Bush.
Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: ... right-wing judges never really were part of this president's candidacy, indicated to me that there is no mandate out there to skew the courts, and particularly the higher courts, the appellate courts, to the right.

I also remember well nominees that came up during the Clinton administration, particularly for the D.C. circuit, which has a lot of importance to many of us. And I remember at one time, nominee after nominee after nominee after nominee, four vacancies were denied the movement forward, that in effect was a filibuster, a filibuster in the committee by people who are unknown and perhaps as little as one member. This is a filibuster on the floor, where members came forward, members said what they thought, it was in the open, and everyone knows how we voted. I think that that's appropriate. I think the overwhelming number of the small percentage of individuals who were filibustered clearly indicates that we have the right and I think even the obligation to do this if their credentials are not such that we can assure Americans that they will act in the mainstream of legal thinking in this country.

KAGAN: Listened just a little bit there to Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California. This is the controversy that goes on inside the U.S. Senate. The Republicans pushing for debate that went on for two nights with no sleep. But the main issue here, the Democrats trying to block the confirmation of a handful of conservative judges that President Bush is trying to get on the federal bench. We also expect to hear from the Republicans. We're hear from them when they come to the microphones.

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