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Committee vote on Alito now scheduled for Jan. 24

WASHINGTON (BP)–The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and the full Senate will take up the nomination immediately thereafter, Senate leaders announced Jan. 16.

Republicans had hoped to see Alito’s nomination voted out of the committee Jan. 17, but Democrats on the committee chose instead to delay it. The new date for the committee vote was agreed upon by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R.-Pa., and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, The Washington Post reported.

Conservatives want to see Alito on the court as soon as possible. He would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who has disappointed conservatives on a host of rulings, including ones on abortion rights. The court currently is considering at least two abortion-related cases. If O’Connor leaves the court before a decision is announced, then her vote would not count. She supports the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R.-Tenn., said he would cancel a scheduled Senate vacation to debate Alito’s nomination on the floor.

“Despite these tactics, Judge Alito remains on track to be confirmed as Justice Alito,” Frist said in a statement. “A justice delayed will not be a justice denied. As I stated last week, as soon as the Judiciary Committee reports the nomination, the full Senate will begin debate on Judge Alito the next day and move swiftly to a fair up-or-down vote.”

Republicans criticized the Democrats for reneging on a promise that a committee vote would take place Jan. 17.

“In November, members of this committee entered into a ‘good faith’ understanding that we would vote on Judge Alito’s nomination today,” Sen. John Cornyn, R.-Texas, said in a statement. “But now, members from the other party decided not to honor that agreement — apparently, because the agreement wasn’t in writing. I am … left to conclude that committee Democrats breached the good faith understanding because they have acceded to the ‘you name it, we’ll do it’ tactics of the hard left groups who have been intent on defeating Judge Alito’s nomination from the moment it was announced.”

Democrats denied there was any such agreement, The Post reported.

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