Senate Democrats Concede Samuel Alito Supreme Court Vote Likely

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 19, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrats Concede Samuel Alito Supreme Court Vote Likely Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 19, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Senate Democrats held their caucus meeting to discuss Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination and conceded that he will likely be confirmed. Since the chances of a successful filibuster are slim, a couple dozen members plan to vote against his nomination to be able to use issues like his opposition to abortion in the November elections.

Democratic leaders urged members to vote against Alito to lay the groundwork for the 2006 Congressional campaigns.

Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the number two Democrat, told members the vote count "matters a lot, and I think the debate leading up to it matters," according to a New York Times report.

"If a nominee disappoints the country with their service on their court and their decisions, I think some people may ask the important question, Did the Senate really take a close look at this nominee?" Mr. Durbin said. "Did they tell us this was coming?"

Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic party leader and Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, both made the case against Alito, but they had a small crowd to pitch.

Senators told the Times that just half of the caucus attended and not everyone there is ready to vote against Alito.

Pro-life Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, said this week her planned to vote for Alito and he indicated he heard nothing at the caucus meeting that changed his mind.

Responding to a question about whether Democrats would filibuster Alito’s nomination, Reid told the Los Angeles Times, “No decision has been made on that."

A filibuster would have little chance of succeeding as Alito supporters need 60 votes to stop it and they already have 55 Republican votes and probably five Democrat votes to be able to block it.

"There will always be people talking about it,” Nelson said. “The question is, would a filibuster effort be successful? I don’t think so.”

Prior to the hearings before the judicial panel, Alito had met with more than 70 senators in private meetings. This week, Alito visited three more senators, all Democrats including Max Baucus of Montana, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Bill Nelson of Florida.

Baucus and Wyden told the Times they didn’t think they could support his nomination.