WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats on Monday forced a one-week delay on a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, but the 55-year-old conservative was still expected to be confirmed by the full Republican-led Senate.
Still, the Democratic action ended hopes by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, to have President George W. Bush's nominee confirmed by the end of this week for a seat on the nation's highest court.
Washington Post - The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee reached an agreement yesterday evening to wait until next Tuesday to vote on the nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.
The agreement alters the schedule announced Friday, during the final moments of Alito's week-long confirmation hearings, by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who said he would conduct the panel's vote today. His announcement sparked a quarrel with the panel's ranking Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), who said he would seek a delay. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) vowed that a vote in the full Senate, which has final say over all judicial candidates chosen by the president, would take place by the end of the week. …
As Republicans express confidence that they have mustered enough votes to confirm Alito, the timing of the committee's action and of the full Senate vote may not dictate whether he joins the court. But the timing plays into the short-term political calculus of both parties, as well as of a coalition of left-leaning advocacy groups that are continuing to air advertisements in an aggressive -- and, so far, relatively ineffective -- campaign to build broad public opposition to the nominee, who is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
I've got to admit, this had me a little puzzled. What was the point? Are the Democrats so angry that they're going to spend millions of dollars pointlessly? Or, alternatively, do they think that they'll get some kind of extra leverage out of proving that they'll ruthlessly attack someone even when there's no chance of getting the immediate political outcome the way they want it?
I suppose those are possible. I don't really believe them: these aren't fools, and indulging their ire to no benefit would be foolish.
But look at the aprt I've emphasized: "a coalition of left-leaning advocacy groups" who are running ineffective advertisements in this campaign to block Alito's nomination.
I wonder how many people are aware that political consultants who help set up big advertising purchases get a commission on those ads?
Suddenly, the fog lifts. If those ads don't run, the commissions don't come in.
If I'm right, the political consultants are the ones who stand to benefit most from the delay.