Senators are set to confirm Judge Samuel Alito as the 110th Supreme Court Justice this morning, after a bipartisan majority decisively voted to block the last attempt at stopping the confirmation of the conservative nominee.
With a vote of 72 to 25, senators stopped a filibuster attempt by a group of mostly liberal Democrats to extend the debate. The final vote is scheduled for 11 a.m. EST and would require a simple majority which is all but assured.
"I am pleased that a strong, bipartisan majority in the Senate decisively rejected attempts to obstruct and filibuster an up-or-down vote on Judge Sam Alito's nomination," said President George W. Bush in a statement. "Judge Alito is extraordinarily well-qualified to serve on our nation's highest court, and America is fortunate that this good and humble man is willing to serve."
Judge Alito, has been seen by supporters as a judge with a conservative judicial philosophy that would tilt the court to the right on social issues. The nominee, if confirmed, would replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day OConnor, considered a key swing vote for on cases involving abortion, assisted suicide, the death penalty and other controversial social issues.
Republicans and a few Democrats had criticized the attempt to block a vote on Alito just ahead of the State of the Union address to be delivered Tuesday evening by the president.
Democrats, led by Massachusetts Sens Edward Kennedy and John Kerry had attempted to persuade others to delay the vote for Alito, who has been appeals court judge since 1990.
We were willing to pursue a losing effort just to let the American people know what was at stake, said Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who said she would vote against him, claiming that Alito had shown a hostility toward women and believing he would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Representatives from conservative social policy groups, including some Christian organizations saw the attempt at a filibuster as misguided.
"The idea of filibustering a fine nominee like Judge Alito is beyond ridiculousits an abuse of the advice-and-consent process and defies the will of the American people, said Jan LaRue, Chief Counsel for Concerned Women for America.
"We look forward to a final Senate vote tomorrow morning so that we can welcome Judge Alito as our next Supreme Court Justice," she added yesterday.