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Alito committee vote postponed until January 24

[JURIST] Senate leaders announced late Monday that a US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive] which could have taken place as early as Tuesday will be postponed by a week until January 24, with consideration by the full Senate to follow immediately afterwards. Ranking Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy said [press release] that he and committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter had reached an agreement over the weekend that "allows all Senators, Republicans and Democrats, to conclude Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday events without having to rush back to Washington before the Senate returns to session." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist slammed the delay in a statement, however, calling it "unjustified and desperate partisan obstructionism" on the part of Democrats. The additional week will nonetheless give Judge Alito more time to answer written questions from the committee and theoretically allows senators more time to reflect, although the nomination is expected to be readily approved without any filibuster [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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