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Specter Warns of Further Trouble on Judges

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee warned that more procedural stalling tactics are in the works if Democrats do not confirm the president’s judicial nominations before the Senate recesses for the summer.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said “that all options are on the table” if Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) does not, at the very least, hold a hearing on the several pending judicial nominations.

During a Thursday news conference, Specter singled out Robert J. Conrad, nominee to the 4th Circuit Court, as among a list of nominees who deserve at least a hearing, then a floor vote. Republicans have seemingly lowered their expectations, pushing for Leahy to hold a hearing on the judicial candidates rather than floor approval before the August recess.

Republicans have derided Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for allegedly breaking a promise he made to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to confirm three circuit-court nominees by the Memorial Day recess. Some GOP lawmakers have since threatened to continue their procedural delays on unrelated legislation as a form of protest on the Bush appointees.

In May, Republicans took Democrats by surprise, forcing the clerk to read the nearly 500-page document on the doomed global warming bill to show their anger over the lack of action on nominations. More tactics like that could soon be in the offing.

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