[JURIST] AP is reporting that US Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) has announced that confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive] will start January 9, 2006. Earlier this week Democrats called for January hearings [JURIST report] on Alito, insisting that there was just not enough time to give his extensive judicial record appropriate review beforehand, despite President Bush's initial call for the Senate to act promptly on his nomination "so that an up or down vote is held before the end of this year." Specter commented that meeting the President's goal "just wasn't possible." The projected confirmation schedule anticipates five days of hearings with a committee vote on January 17 and a vote on the nomination by the full Senate on January 20. AP has more.