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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 06:57 PM
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Specter walks tightrope on Southwick nomination

Specter walks tightrope on Southwick nomination
By Alexander Bolton
July 17, 2007

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) is walking a tightrope above a crowd of angry conservatives and prickly Senate Democrats.

To his right, conservative activists are spoiling for a fight over judicial nominations. To his left, Senate Democrats could bring judicial confirmations to a standstill.

It is a position, caught in between, that Specter is used to, having faced a massive conservative effort to deny him the Judiciary gavel at the beginning of the 109th Congress.

Conservatives are sure Specter told them last week that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) broke a promise to move Leslie Southwick, President Bushs controversial pick for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, to the Senate floor. Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is one of those prepared to say directly that Leahy did not do what he said he would.

But as ranking Republican on the panel and mindful of his need to work with Leahy, Specter is taking pains in public to finesse the blunt words he used in private to a gathering of steamed-up conservatives.

Sitting next to Leahy at a panel meeting a few days after his comments were reported by The Hill, Specter demurred, saying, Commitments were not broken, and had commitments by members been broken, I wouldnt talk to the newspapers about it, I would talk to the members about it.

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