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Top Democrats move to block Bush high court nominee
Yahoo News/AFP
January 27, 2006

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Leading Democrat Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy said they would try to block Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito by preventing a vote on him with a filibuster.

Former presidential candidate Kerry announced from Switzerland that he wanted to block> President George W. Bush's conservative nominee with the stalling tactic to prevent "an ideological coup" on the high court.

"Judge Alito will take America backward, especially when it comes to civil rights and discrimination laws," Kerry said is a statement.

Kennedy, Kerry's fellow Massachusetts senator, also called for a filibuster on Alito when the Senate is called to vote, probably early next week.

"We owe it to future generations of Americans to oppose this nomination. If Judge Alito is confirmed ... the progress of half a century on the basic rights of all Americans is likely to be rolled back."

In a statement, Democratic leaders said that Kerry was lobbying fellow senators in hopes of being able to round up the 41 votes needed to successfully prevent the Senate from holding a final up-or-down confirmation vote on Alito.

Alito earlier this week won a critical vote in a Senate committee vetting his nomination, but now must win the approval of the full Senate, which currently is debating his nomination.

Alito was approved by the Republican-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee 10-to-eight on party lines.

All but a few Democrats in the 100-seat Senate are united in opposition against the 55-year-old conservative, saying they fear Alito, if he joins forces with other conservatives on the US high court, will undo years of liberal court rulings.

Alito, a 15-year veteran federal appeals court judge, has left a long paper trail over the years which suggest decidedly anti-abortion views including memos written while working as an attorney in the> Ronald Reagan administration, in which he proposed strategies for overturning the Supreme Court landmark 1973 Roe v Wade abortion rights decision.

A successful filibuster would deal Bush a second defeat in trying to fill the vacant court slot. His previous nominee, White House aide Harriet Miers, was forced to withdraw after a backlash from conservatives.

But Republicans hold a decided 55 to 44 seat majority in the chamber, with one independent senator voting mostly with Democrats.

In addition, three Democrats have said they will support Alito, leading some Democrat senators to say a move to block Alito would probably fail.

But while most Republicans support Alito, several have expressed reservations over his conservative views on abortion, protection of civil rights, and limits on the powers of the presidency.

The Republican National Committee quickly denounced the filibuster effort Thursday, branding it "thoughtless bomb throwing."

"To even suggest a filibuster against a nominee as qualified as Judge Alito reflects a philosophy so out of touch that it's bordering on reckless," the group said in a statement.

On Monday, Bush praised Alito as "a very, very smart, capable man" and urged lawmakers to quickly hold a full vote on his candidate.

"He's extraordinarily capable to serve on the Supreme Court," Bush said.

The Judiciary Committee chairman, moderate Republican Senator Arlen Specter, also offered unstinting praise of Alito.

"His personal background is exemplary. His professional qualifications are outstanding. His educational achievements are of the highest order," Specter said.

Commentary:
We live in a era in which spin is everything. The problem with the dems is the media is bought and paid for by the GOP (the corporate media receives massive tax cuts every year). They push GOP talking points around the clock and it's nearly impossible for average Americans to learn the truth. While some truth is printed, most of it is consigned to the back pages and ignored by the networks and cable news. A government of, by and for "spin" will always win out over reality. The media loves the story, but only if the biggest spinner (liar) wins. Dems don't have a chance. They can't control the spin.

The fact that a single democrat would consider voting for Alito shows how intellectually weak the party has become. Alito believes in stripping the congress of all power and granting absolute power to the president. Any member of congress who supports him isn't fit to be in congress.