Monday, January 30, 2006
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer -- 2 hours, 21 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Liberal Democrats waged an eleventh-hour attempt Monday to block 's Supreme Court confirmation, arguing that he would tilt the high court further to the right.
GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee (news, bio, voting record) of Rhode Island also announced that he would vote against Alito's confirmation. Chafee, a self-described "pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-Bill of Rights Republican," is the only member of the Republican Party so far to announce that he will vote against the conservative judge.
Chafee refused to support the Democrats' filibuster attempt, however. "How are we going to get anything done if we can't work together?" Chafee asked.
Pro-choice demonstrators, left, wave signs in front of the US Supreme Court, in Washington, DC, in this file photo. Access to abortion could be seriously curtailed in the United States with the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, activists warn. (AFP/File/Karen Bleier)
But liberal Democrats say that Alito -- a former federal prosecutor and conservative lawyer for the Reagan administration -- would put individual rights and liberties in danger.
"I think he is the wrong judge at the wrong time in the wrong place," said Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., a longtime liberal stalwart. "I do not believe he is going to be part of the whole movement of the continued march towards progress in this country."
Added Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont, the chamber's lone independent: "The addition of Judge Alito would unacceptably shift the balance of the court on many critical issues facing our country."
But time was running out, and Alito's supporters say they already had more than enough votes to ensure that he be confirmed to succeed retiring Justice . They still hoped that could happen before gives his State of the Union speech in the Capitol on Tuesday.
The Senate was holding a test vote Monday afternoon. If Alito, 55, could garner at least 60 votes there, the final confirmation vote would be Tuesday morning. An Associated Press survey last week showed that Alito has at least 62 votes.
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com
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