Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Arlen Specter: The Right Man to Chair the Senate Judiciary Committee

March 10(23), 2005

When Arlen Specter was nominated to head the Senate Judiciary Committee, his candidacy faced an immediate avalanche of protest from the mainstream Republican right because of his moderate status on many issues and his generally sensible nature. The red party seemed quite a bit scared by a person whom they knew was not a religious reactionary, but in the end their paranoia and slander was not enough to stop this well-qualified man from becoming the chairman of the committee.
Specter's opinions and actions have already proven that he wil make a good chairman. With regards to the Supreme Court, Specter has gone against President Bush and against part lines by saying that, should the current Chief Justice step down, it would be important to replace him with someone who could reach across ideological lines. He reminisced about Earl Warren, the Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed by President Nixon who made the famous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, reminding us that, "Nobody would have predicted that Earl Warren would have been able to do that."
When asked whether or not he opposed changing Senate rules to block Democratic filibusters of Bush's court nominees, Specter responded that, "I think it would be an abrupt change that would cause problems with the Senate and the committee."
He also said that, while he thought the Patriot Act should be renewed, certain provisions ought to be changed or at least reviewed.
"I think that getting access to private records like library books without the traditional showing of probable cause needs to be reexamined. People on both right and left agree that there are civil liberties questions involved."
All in all, Arlen Specter seems like just the kind of level-headed moderate that a body like the Senate Judiciary Committee needs in hese crazy and frightening times.

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