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Specter announces support for Alito while Democrats seek to delay vote

[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] announced Friday that he will vote to confirm [Reuters report] US Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito [official profile], while most, if not all, of the eight Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are expected to vote against Alito. Alito appears on his way to confirmation, but Democrats are seeking to slow his confirmation [JURIST report] by demanding that Specter delay the panel's vote for one week. The confirmation hearings concluded Friday [JURIST report] with testimony from outside witnesses, and the Judiciary Committee will meet on January 17 to see when it can vote on its recommendation to the full Senate. Both Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) [official website] and Edward Kennedy (D-MA)[official website] have made it clear that they will not vote to confirm the nomination, while other Democratic committee members have not indicated how they will vote, including ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy (VT) [official website] and Wisconsin senators Herb Kohl [official website] and Russ Feingold [official website]. Though there is some talk of a Democratic filibuster against Alito, the Democrats will likely find it difficult to find enough votes for a filibuster; Democrats need 41 votes to sustain a filibuster and there are only 44 Democrats in the Senate. At least two moderate Republicans in the centrist "Gang of 14" have said they will not support a filibuster against Alito, making a filibuster unlikely. AP has more.

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