[JURIST] Leaders of both parties brought race into the equation Thursday in the continuing Senate floor fight over President Bush's judicial nominees [JURIST report] and the Senate's own filibuster rules. GOP Majority Leader Bill Frist [official website] held a news conference accompanied by the chairman of a group of black pastors, Bishop Harry Jackson, who admonished the Democratic party for disparaging treatment of federal appeals court nominee Janice Rogers Brown [court profile]. Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid [official website] meanwhile said that doing away with the filibuster is "nothing short of clearing the trees for the confirmation of an unacceptable nominee to the Supreme Court." Reid joined leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus in a letter to Frist urging Republicans not to upset traditional checks and balances [Reid remarks announcing letter]. AP has more.