From today’s Washington Times:
The Senate will not conduct Supreme Court confirmation hearings for federal Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. until next year, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter announced yesterday.
A final confirmation vote by the full Senate is scheduled tentatively for Jan. 20, making it the longest confirmation process since that of Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Mr. Specter’s timetable envisions five days of hearings before the judiciary panel, starting Jan. 9, followed by a committee vote on Jan. 17.
Senate Democrats bluntly warned their GOP colleagues that they would not attend confirmation hearings held in December, and would otherwise obstruct the Alito nomination unless their slow-roll approach was adopted. Given the overwhelming likelihood of confirmation, the GOP elected not to give the Dems any high ground on which to complain and thus divert attention from Judge Alito’s qualifications.
Of course the senators had other plans and generally don’t like to work post mid-November. I’d like your help figuring out what was so important to the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee that will keep them away from D.C. during the run up to Christmas and the New year. If you come across the travel plans for Senators Leahy, Kennedy, Biden, Kohl, Feinstein, Feingold, Schumer and Durbin –including any articles that mention them while on recess– please pass them along to me.