Friday, April 19, 2024

Debate on Timetable for Confirmation Hearings Continues


As Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor continues her rounds on Capitol Hill, the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee have yet to reach an agreement on the timetable for confirmation hearings.

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Democratic leaders are hoping for a swift confirmation process before the Supreme Court session begins in October. Yet, the committee’s top Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, is being pressured by GOP leaders to push the confirmation off until September.

Republicans say they need time to review Sotomayor’s more than 3,000 cases from her 17 years as a federal judge and hope to schedule a final confirmation vote in September.

After speaking with Leahy, Sessions said, “I guess I’ll say we’re still talking. No final agreements have been reached. It was a good conversation. I think those of us who want to take care and have legitimate concerns — he’s the chairman, and he’d like to see things as rapidly as he can, and we’ll just have to talk about it and see how it comes out.”

Sessions recently took over for Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter as top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, when Specter switched to the Democratic Party. The nomination process will be his first test of both having to negotiate within his party and on behalf of it.  Other senior Senate Republicans who have weighed in with opinions about the confirmation timetable include Minority Whip Jon Kyl, Orrin Hatch and Chareles Grassley.

A Democratic aide says, “We don’t know what Sessions is going to do. We will negotiate in good faith, and if that doesn’t work out, then we will just pick a date and get started.”


Associated Press