Reports say that the nomination of Chuck Hagel has been successfully blocked by Republicans in the Senate, with Democrats falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican objections before a key Friday procedural vote to end debate.
Harry Reid is quoted by Politico, as saying "It’s tragic they’ve decided to filibuster this qualified nominee — it is really unfortunate."
Contrary to assertions made by Roll Call and even Fox News Radio, who both claimed that a filibuster of Hagel would the "first time in U.S. history" against a Cabinet nominee, AJC actually went and looked and found that this is not the first time, or even the second.
That was back on May 26 2006, when the Senate had to get 60 votes for a cloture motion to force a final vote on President George W. Bush's choice for Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne.
And like Hagel, Kempthore was a former Senator.
"I know this nominee is a person deserving of our respect," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) just before the 2006 vote, "But I must stand on my principles to oppose this nomination."
While other Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) had placed a hold on Kempthorne's nomination, it was Nelson in 2006 who ultimately refused to allow action on the Kempthorne nomination, so the Senate was forced to vote on a cloture motion, which was approved on a vote of 85-8, well above the 60 votes needed to bring about final action.
Joining Nelson to vote for a filibuster of a Bush Cabinet nominee were, Sen. Joe Biden - now the Vice President, John Kerry - now Secretary of State, and both Senators from New York, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer.
It should be noted that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) did not vote in favor of a filibuster of Kempthorne, as the Illinois Senator voted to shut off debate on the Kempthorne nomination.
The filibuster against Kempthorne wasn't the most high profile effort in 2006 by Democrats against a nominee of President Bush, as Democrats also forced Republicans to get 60 votes on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Mr. Obama did support that filibuster.