Senate Democrats May Postpone Committee Vote on Samuel Alito

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrats May Postpone Committee Vote on Samuel Alito Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 6, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee may decide to exercise their right to delay the panel’s vote on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for a week after the hearings conclude. The committee is scheduled to hold hearings next week and vote shortly thereafter.

However, instead of holding a vote on his nomination on January 17, they may ask for it to be pushed back a week. If that happens, it will also delay the full Senate vote on Alito’s bid to replace outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, scheduled for January 20.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Thursday of the possible plan by Senate Democrats to stall the vote.

"We want to see how the hearing goes, procedurally and substantially, before allowing them to accelerate the vote for a week," pro-abortion Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, told AP

During the confirmation process for Chief Justice John Roberts, Republicans and Democrats agreed not to delay the committee vote, but no such agreement has been reached on Alito’s nomination.

That’s likely because his views on abortion have come under much closer scrutiny because of his decisions as an appeals court judge and his memos as a Reagan administration attorney saying there is no right to an abortion in the Constitution.

The delay indicates, to some observers, that Democrats may use a filibuster to block Alito’s nomination if they don’t like his answers to the intense questions he’s expected to receive next week during the hearings.

"If he is out of the mainstream and will use his tremendously powerful position as Supreme Court judge to impose his views on the American people, then there’s a potential for a filibuster, and no one really knows that until the hearings," Schumer said.

Abortion advocates have urged pro-abortion members of the Senate to filibuster Alito’s bid because they worry he will vote to overturn Roe or to, at minimum, chip away at the landmark decision by voting to uphold pro-life legislation limiting abortions.

Frist has already said he would move to change Senate rules on filibusters if Democrats use one to halt Alito’s nomination.

Meanwhile, each party is given the opportunity to invite 10 political leaders to testify on Alito’s nomination during the final day of the hearings. Senate Democrats have announced some of their choices, including Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL, and pro-abortion Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe.

The Supreme Court is in recess until February 21 and it is expected to issue rulings this term about abortion and assisted suicide.

ACTION: Contact members of the Senate and express your opinion about Samuel Alito’s nomination. You can find contact information for all senators at: