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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Another thing to be thankful for this season

As one of the tens of thousands of Americans who spent the days after the election snarling the phone lines, fax lines and E-mail boxes of Republican United States Senators with pleas not to support Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) for Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am heartened that folks on Capitol Hill are listening.

While the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania will, it seems likely, take the helm of the Judiciary Committee in the 109th Congress, the outcry this month resulted in a set of useful commitments on Specter's part to his colleagues, and to broader the conservative electorate that supports them. True, I would have preferred just about anyone in the Republican Senate Caucus, to Specter, for this sensitive assignment, the public statement he made includes key concessions that are now in writing. Specter declared last week:

"I have not and would not use a litmus test to deny confirmation to pro-life nominees."

"I have assured the President that I would give his nominees quick Committee hearings and early Committee votes so floor action could be promptly scheduled."

"I have no reason to believe that I’ll be unable to support any individual President Bush finds worthy of nomination."

"I have already registered my opposition to the Democrats’ filibusters with 17 floor statements and will use my best efforts to stop any future filibusters."

"If a rule change is necessary to avoid filibusters, there are relevant recent precedents to secure rule changes with 51 votes."

"I intend to consult with my colleagues on the Committee’s legislative agenda, including tort reform, and will have balanced hearings with all viewpoints represented."

"I would not support Committee action to bottle up legislation or a constitutional amendment, even one which I personally opposed, reserving my own position for the floor."

See the entire statement at:

These written commitments give a basis for us to hold the new Chairman, and the Republican Senate Conference that approved him, accountable for results.

Further still, I am informed by sources close to the Senate Cloakroom, that Specter made other, further agreements in private, as to specific legislation that will obtain hearings and staffing for the Committee that reflects the Federalist Society more than it would the Ripon Society.

And our Society (the John Adams Society) and society at large can be glad of that….

Just another thing to be thankful for this season.