[JURIST] Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania; official website here) said Friday that he expected White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to be approved by his Committee and confirmed in the wake of Thursday's seven-hour hearing on his nomination for the post of US Attorney General. As reported yesterday in JURIST's Paper Chase, Gonzales was subjected to hard questioning by senators and harsh criticism by legal scholars wary of his views on torture and the Geneva Conventions, but the Bush administration is thought by most observers to have enough Senate supporters on the nomination to let it through. AP has more. Thursday's hearing marked the first time in the Judiciary chair for Specter, who was formally elected to the chairmanship earlier this week after an embarrassing controversy erupted late last year over his suitability when conservative Republican elements questioned his commitment to the Bush agenda. For his part, Specter has made a commitment to see administration-approved nominees and legislation through, but he nonetheless demonstrated some independence Thursday by being more indulgent of critical Democrat questioning that was his predecessor, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch. AP has more.