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Alito confirmation debate begins in Senate

[JURIST] The US Senate Wednesday began a heated debate over the confirmation of US Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive], but Senate Democrats gave no hint of a potential filibuster to block his nomination. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] opened the floor debate [prepared statement] by saying deserves to become a Justice and accused his opposition of "smearing a decent and honorable man." Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) [official website] said however that Alito could not be trusted [prepared statement] to "blow the whistle when the President is out of bounds," calling the judge a "long-standing advocate for expanding executive power, even at the expense of core individual liberties." On Tuesday, all eight Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] voted against Alito's confirmation [JURIST report], but it was not enough to carry the vote for the 18-member committee. Despite the bitter floor debate and Democratic opposition to the nomination, it seems likely that Alito's nomination will be approved [JURIST report] since Republican senators currently hold 55 of the 100 seats and would not give Democrats the numbers necessary for a successful . A confirmation vote is expected to take place late this week or early next week. Reuters has more.

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