by Steven Ertelt
January 26, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a press conference on Thursday, President Bush called on the Senate to end the debate over the Supreme Court nomination of appeals court Judge Samuel Alito and have an up or down vote. Meanwhile, one Democrat said the Senate needs to not filibuster the nomination and move on to other important business.
"He understands the role of a judge is not to advance a personal and political agenda," the president said about Alito.
"He is a decent man. He’s got a lot of experience and he deserves an up or down vote in the Senate," President Bush added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, said the Senate needs to move past the Alito nomination because other important matters are pressing.
"Because we have such a full plate of pressing issues before Congress, a filibuster at this time would be, in my view, very counterproductive," she said.
"We simply cannot afford to bring the Senate to a halt at a time when we need its action the most," Landrieu added, referring to the need for Congress to continue work on helping victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Sens. Ken Salazar of Colorado and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, a pro-life Democrat, have also said they oppose a filibuster.
Sen. Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, would oppose it as well and said Thursday he will become the seond Democrat, along with Nelson, to support Alito’s confirmation.
Johnson said he had misgivings about Alito on some issues. "Even so, I cannot accept an argument that his views are so radical that the Senate is justified in denying his confirmation.
Vote counts reveal enough votes to stop a filibuster and to approve Alito. The Senate has not set a day for a vote on his nomination, originally scheduled for Friday, but senators have said the vote will be finalized before President Bush’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The debate on the Senate floor continued for a second day Thursday, but the president and Republican leaders are so confident Alito has the nomination vote wrapped up, they’re already congratulating him and working on a round of judicial appointments for lower court positions that need to be filled.
According to an AP report, Alito met with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Majority Whip Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter on Wednesday in a room near the Senate floor. He thanked the leaders for their help and support.
Alito also thanked "all of the senators who supported me and were kind enough to meet with me." Since October, Alito has met with 80 of the 100 members of the Senate.