Outside Hearing Room, Senators Differ on Response to Samuel Alito

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Outside Hearing Room, Senators Differ on Response to Samuel Alito Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 11, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Outside the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room following the first day of questioning of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, senators on both sides of the aisle has as different of a response as they did inside the ornate chamber.

Judiciary Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, a pro-abortion Pennsylvania Republican said he was impressed with Alito’s answers. He described the first day of hearings as "unusual" because of Alito’s candor on several topics.

"I think Judge Alito went farther than Chief Justice Roberts did" in discussing abortion, said Specter, indicating his satisfaction with the responses to his questions.

But Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the committee, said Alito didn’t live up to the frankness displayed by Chief Justice John Roberts during his confirmation hearings. Leahy was one of two Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to vote for Roberts.

"Judge Alito needs to do more than distance himself from his early, troubling writings and views — he needs to explain why his views are different today and that what he says is not simply the pledge of an eager applicant trying to win a job," Leahy said, according to an AP report.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, a pro-abortion Democrat from New York who was bombastic in his terse questioning of the appeals court judge, said he was very unhappy with Alito’s answers and promised to badger him again about the issue of abortion.

"We’re going to keep asking questions until we find out specific answers to how he feels about major issues confronting Americans today," he said.

Specter said that would be inappropriate.

Specter explained about questions on Alito’s abortion views: "To talk about it … would be tantamount to say how he is going to decide the case."

"I don’t think that you can expect Judge Alito to state how he is going to decide the case if the issue comes before him," he said.

Meanwhile, a White House spokesman Scott McClellan told AP that Alito was answering the committee’s questions in a "very open and straightforward matter."

McClellan said President Bush caught some of the hearings between meetings on Tuesday and reported he was pleased with what he saw. He said the president welcomed tough questions on issues like abortion as long as members of the Senate don’t misrepresent Alito’s record.