Senate Democrats Will Delay Samuel Alito Vote but Confirmation Likely

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 14, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrats Will Delay Samuel Alito Vote but Confirmation Likely Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 14, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Senate Democrats plan to stall a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, but that likely won’t be enough to stop him from being confirmed. Republicans are lining up solidly behind his nomination and the chance of a filibuster succeeding appears very unlikely.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the judicial panel said at least one of the pro-abortion Democrats on the committee would use their right to postpone a vote on the nomination.

The committee was slated to hold debate and a vote on Tuesday.

However, the vote could be postponed as long as a week but will at least be put off until Wednesday, when Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid meets with Senate Democrats to determine their strategy on the Senate floor.

Reid and lawmakers on his side of the aisle won’t have many options.

In committee, Chairman Arlen Specter said he would vote for Alito’s nomination and all of the other Republican senators will support him as well. That means, once the committee holds its vote, Alito will receive at least a 10-8 vote assuming a party-line vote.

On the Senate floor, prospects for a filibuster appear dim.

Most, if not all, of the 55 Republicans will support Alito and he likely has the backing of pro-life Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas. That means Alito needs just three more votes from more moderate Democrats to avoid a filibuster.

Representatives for pro-abortion Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island told AP that the senators see no reason to support a filibuster.

However long the Senate Democrats delay, Majority Leader Bill Frist won’t let days turn into weeks. He’s said he plans to cancel a Senate recess if Democrats hold off the vote too long.

"When it comes to any delay in Judge Alito’s nomination, a Justice delayed will not be a Justice denied," the Tennessee Republican said in a statement distributed after he and Reid met together.

Pro-abortion groups have said they will encourage their friendly lawmakers to back a filibuster.