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Senators block Gonzales no-confidence vote

[JURIST] The US Senate voted 53-38 [roll call] Monday on a cloture motion [Senate backgrounder] limiting debate on a joint resolution expressing its lack of confidence [JURIST report] in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archive], effectively stopping the resolution from coming to a floor vote. The motion fell seven votes short of the 60 necessary to pass it and presumably adopt the much anticipated non-binding no-confidence resolution against Gonzales, who some had anticipated would resign before the Senate debate [JURIST report]. Despite harsh criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Gonzales has steadfastly resisted calls for resignation and President Bush has repeatedly declared his support [JURIST report] for the beleaguered Attorney General.

Congress does not have the power to force Gonzales from his post unless it votes to impeach him; the no-confidence vote was an attempt by lawmakers to nudge his resignation in the wake of longstanding controversy surrounding the allegedly-political firings of eight US Attorneys, as well as questions about his conduct as White House counsel [JURIST report] in the NSA domestic surveillance program. White House spokesman Tony Fratto has said that administration considers the no-confidence debate a political stunt [JURIST reports]. AP has more.

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