Skip to comments.Specter Makes Headway in Bid for Chair -Aides
Posted on 11/16/2004 12:33:57 PM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican defender of abortion rights, made progress on Tuesday in his embattled bid to head the committee that reviews judicial nominations, party aides said.
Specter emerged from a closed-door meeting with Senate Republican leaders with a smile but no prediction on whether he will become Judiciary Committee chairman -- though a handful of Republican lawmakers have publicly voiced support in recent days and have said they expect him to get it.
"I never count any chickens before they hatch," Specter, 74, of Pennsylvania, said after the meeting in the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican.
Frist, who earlier this week said Specter needed to make a persuasive case that he deserved the post, shook Specter's hand but declined comment to reporters.
While anti-abortion groups have long had concerns about Specter, they increased after the Nov. 2 elections when he gave what was interpreted as a warning to President Bush against offering to the Senate for confirmation U.S. Supreme Court nominees who oppose abortion.
After a crush of criticism, Specter said he was merely pointing out that nominees would need bipartisan support to clear Democratic procedural hurdles.
The Judiciary Committee screens White House nominations to the federal bench, including the Supreme Court, which helps shape social policy on matters from gays rights to abortion.
Specter, the committee's only pro-choice Republican, is in line because of seniority to chair the panel when the new 109th Congress convenes in January.
Top aides said Specter has appeared to make headway, but that all Senate Republicans must get a chance to talk with him before any decision is made.
Specter was to meet later on Tuesday with fellow Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and on Wednesday with all Senate Republicans, who will ultimately decide his fate.
Specter, who won a fifth Senate term this month with White House support, has noted that he backed all of Bush's judicial nominees so far and never had a "litmus test" for them.
While no Republican senator has publicly opposed Specter, a number of them have voiced concerns. "I wish to be assured that he will support the president's nominees," Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican, said shortly before Tuesday's meetings.
Sen. Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, said Specter should be given the chairmanship.
"I think he has earned it," Lott said. "I'm a pretty conservative guy. But I'm also a pragmatist and I think it would be a mistake for him not to be chairman."
"I think he'd be an asset. When he comes to the floor to speak on behalf of a Bush nominee -- maybe a conservative, maybe a pro-lifer -- it will carry real weight," Lott said.
Across the street from the Capitol, however, anti-abortion demonstrators kept up their campaign against Specter.
"We will not go silently into the night," said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. "We are here and we are making our voices heard loudly and clearly."
Sounds like code for "I'm pro-abortion".
He MUST go.
Of course not. Nor do you count children before they are born.
God help any congresscritter who puts Specter in the judiciary committee. Their seats will be forfeit in 2006 and 2008.
Is that the smell of greased palms and scratched backs wafting out of that room?
I hope you are right. I think the senate "traditions" will prevail and Specter will be confirmed.
Ahhh that Trent Lott spine we all know and love.
As at the Alamo, the line has been drawn in the sand......and Sphincter.....always the coward....will grovel....and spin...and be Sphincter... Don't be fooled again.
I think it will be Specter as chair and that he will do a surprisingly good job. He also provides a very useful foil with the media -- if Specter supports the President's nominees, they cannot be that conservative.
We will also need Specter and the moderates on tort reform, social security privatization, and much more.
Where's that list of phone numbers again? We need to reinforce the message to these hard-headed senators. I want Lott's number!
Lott resigned for the good of the party over some innocuous remark. Spector obviously doesn't care about anyone else. Why can't Spector resigned the chairmanship for the good of the party.
This may be nothing more than putting on a good face. Let's hope so!
I will guarantee the Pubbies, if they put this guy in as chair, they will come to regret it.
Like the house of Lords, the Senate is a cozy club very protective of its members perquisites. Gives the Republic a bad name.
can he be voted off later if he acts up?
Exerpt from Schippers' Sellout:
Finally Senator Lott and Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania entered and sat at the head of a big rectangular table. Lott leaned back in his chair with a power lean that said, "I'm in charge." I'll never forget the very first words out of his mouth: "Henry, you're not going to dump this garbage on us."
Some things never change.
"God help any congresscritter who puts Specter in the judiciary committee. Their seats will be forfeit in 2006 and 2008."
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