Samuel Alito Approved for Supreme Court on Party-Line Abortion Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Samuel Alito Approved for Supreme Court on Party-Line Abortion Vote

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 24, 2006

Washington, DC ( — The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court on a 10-8 party-line vote. The vote came amid concerns by Senate Democrats that Alito would be likely to vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion on demand.

All of the Republicans on the judicial panel are pro-life and they voted unanimously for Alito. The committee’s Democrats all back abortion and they all opposed him.

The vote paves the way for the full Senate to take up Alito’s nomination on Wednesday. Senators are slated to debate his nomination tomorrow and Thursday and have a final vote on Friday.

Despite the party line vote, Democrats are not expected to have enough votes to filibuster Alito’s nomination as several Democrats have indicated they will join the chamber’s 55 Republicans to oppose a filibuster.

The final vote on Alito may be close, however, as just one Democrat, pro-life Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, has publicly announced he will vote for the nomination.

Members of the committee took three hours to give time for each senator to voice praise or concerns about replacing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor with the federal appeals court judge.

"I guess there are 18 ways of saying the same thing, broken into two categories," pro-life Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in response.

The committee chairman, pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said he would vote for Alito but Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said Senate confirmation "would make him a dangerous addition" to the high court.

"Like America’s founders, Judge Alito clearly believes in self-government, that the people and not judges should make law, and that judges have an important role but must know and stay in their proper place," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said of the nominee.

The White House released a statement shortly after the vote, saying, "The negative tone, relentless attacks and distortion of Judge Alito’s career confirmed what we already knew from the hearings: Judge Alito had an open mind but the Democrats, beholden to their interest groups, did not."

Abortion advocates still hope for a last-minute filibuster from Senate Democrats while pro-life groups are largely supportive of Alito.