30 January 2006

Senate votes for cloture on Alito debate

This is a sad day. And it's looking like it will be an even sadder day tomorrow when they take the final vote.

This country is headed in a very bad direction.

From the New York Times via truthout:
The nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. for the Supreme Court cleared an all-important procedural hurdle in the Senate this afternoon as liberal Democrats failed to muster enough support to block a vote on his confirmation.

The Senate voted, 72 to 25, to shut off debate and hold a vote on confirmation Tuesday morning. Sixty votes are needed to shut off debate, and 41 to keep one going, so opponents of the nominee fell far short this afternoon.

Some Democrats and at least one Republican who voted to end debate are certain to oppose the nominee in the actual confirmation vote on Tuesday. But since only a simple majority is required for confirmation, Samuel Alito could be a member of the Supreme Court by Tuesday afternoon.

The futile attempt to prevent a confirmation vote was led by Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts. Mr. Kennedy said Judge Alito's decisions "demonstrate a systematic tilt toward powerful institutions and against individuals attempting to vindicate their rights."

"How can a clear record like that possibly justify a lifetime position on the Supreme Court?" Mr. Kennedy asked.

Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, said the Judge Alito had shown patterns that "demonstrate a hostility to the disadvantaged and the poor."

Judge Alito, who has been on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for 15 years, would replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The nominee's critics say his record as a judge, and his earlier work as a lawyer in the Reagan administration, signal that he would tilt the tribunal further to the right, in favor of presidential power and big business and away from personal freedom and the rights of ordinary Americans.
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