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Bush Urges Senate for Prompt Vote on Supreme Court Nominee


President Bush is urging the Senate to promptly vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

President Bush's request for a swift vote comes as Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they may move to postpone the vote, which had been expected as early as Tuesday.

The 10 Republicans and eight Democrats on the committee concluded a week of hearings on the nomination Friday. In his weekly radio address, President Bush had high praise for Judge Alito, whom he has nominated to fill the seat of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

"America is fortunate to have a man of his intellect and integrity willing to serve, and as a justice on our nation's highest court, Sam Alito will make all Americans proud," said George W. Bush.

Justice O'Connor was considered a moderate on the nine-member court, and she often cast the deciding vote in five-to-four rulings. Senate Democrats say they are concerned about appointing a nominee who they contend might try to undermine abortion rights and civil rights. But President Bush disagrees, and says Judge Alito is fair and open-minded.

"His record shows that he strictly and fairly interprets the Constitution and laws, and does not try to legislate from the bench, or impose his personal preference on the people," he said.

Despite opposition from some Democrats, they did not discuss Judge Alito's nomination in their radio address. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois focused instead on what Democrats are calling the "culture of corruption" they say has come from five years of Republican control of the federal government. Senator Durbin said it is preventing government from dealing with the real needs of the nation.

"Powerful corporate special interests control the agenda, and people who don't have paid lobbyists really don't have much of a voice," said Dick Durbin.

The Democratic party has stepped up its attack on Republican ethics, after a once-powerful Washington lobbyist pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion in a federal corruption investigation that could implicate a number of high-ranking Congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Senator Durbin said honest leadership will help all Americans, and he said Democrats would introduce a reform package that includes increasing government accountability and enforcing ethics rules.

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