When the timing deal was reached on the Alito nomination, Senators Specter and Leahy held a press conference. Here’s the relevant portion, courtesy of the NRSC:
“Q: Sen. Specter, will Senators still be able to hold over the nominee in committee once the confirmation hearings are over?
Specter: The Answer-the answer is that after conferring with all our
colleagues, Sen. Leahy and I have proposed what we call a good faith
intention to have the executive committee meet on the 17th and to vote
on that day.
Leahy: As you’ll recall Mr. Owen, we had the same thing with the
Roberts case. We dealt not with some kind of unanimous consent, but
with two senior members of the Senate having commitments. And I think
on my side, we’d expect that-obviously this leaves room if something
extraordinary comes up that neither, frankly neither Sen. Specter nor I anticipate or expect.