Specter Likely to Lead Judiciary Committee; First Must Appease Republican Leadership
Byline: Charles Hurt, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, likely will assume the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee on schedule, despite opposition from many conservatives, say insiders familiar with talks among Republican Party leaders.
But first, Mr. Specter must appease Republican leadership and fellow Judiciary Committee members in private meetings today.
Earlier this month, Mr. Specter said pro-life nominees to the Supreme Court will have a difficult time being confirmed in the current political environment. Many conservatives interpreted the remarks as meaning Mr. Specter would not fight vigorously to confirm President Bush's nominees.
Thousands of letters, e-mails and phone calls continue to pour into Capitol Hill from conservatives demanding that Mr. Specter be barred from the chairmanship because of the statements.
"Specter's got to fix this and he's on his way to doing that," said one Republican aide. "He's got to reassure leadership that he will fight for President Bush's nominees."
Mr. Specter has said he would give all of Mr. Bush's nominees thorough but swift hearings and votes. He said he has voted in favor of all of Mr. Bush's nominees, even the 10 who have been filibustered by Democrats.
Republicans note, however, that Mr. Specter is credited with killing the nomination of Robert Bork when President Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court. …