Former Massachusetts' Governor Mitt Romney made the case on Thursday that the GOP should not rule out the use of a filibuster on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
"I think the process that was applied during the Bush administration should be the same process applied during the Obama administration," said the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate at a forum in Virginia. "I don't believe in the nuclear option ... on either side of the aisle."
The remarks, while a bit opaque, suggest that Romney believes Republicans in the Senate should be open to applying a 60-vote threshold to Sotomayor's nomination. And, in a bit of irony, they provide some vindication to his one-time rival, Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican was pilloried to great lengths by fellow conservatives for his role in brokering the Gang of 14 compromise that helped stave off the Nuclear Option when Justice Samuel Alito was nominated. Now, with a Democratic president in office, the political calculus behind that decision gets more appreciation within the GOP.
As for Sotomayor, Romney stressed that she deserved a "full and fair" hearing. But he added that statements she had made in the past were "troubling." Asked if the tone had gone too far with conservatives claiming that the Supreme Court nominee was a reverse racist, Romney largely demurred.
"Of course there are some things she said that are troubling for those of us who believe that the job of a justice is to follow the law and the constitution, not to create law," he said. "But let's give her a chance to explain her views, to describe her record and to be party to a full and complete fair process. And let's do it in a very civil and respectful manner."