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US Senate Panel Expected to Approve Supreme Court Nominee

A U.S. Senate panel Tuesday is expected to vote to send the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court to the full Senate for confirmation.

Although several top Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have said they would oppose Judge Samuel Alito's nomination, the 10 Republicans on the 18-member panel have said they would vote for Alito.

Thus, it appears the nomination will be sent to the full Senate for a confirmation vote later this month.

Speaking in Kansas, President Bush reiterated that Alito is well-qualified for the high court:

"He is a very, very smart capable man," said Mr. Bush. "When you talk to Sam Alito you think smart judge. He has written a lot of opinions. His judicial philosophy is clear, and his judicial temperament is sound."

But a number of Senate Democrats say that after a week of hearings by the Judiciary Committee earlier this month, they remain concerned that Alito, if confirmed, would shift the ideological balance of the court in a more conservative direction.

Still, no Democrat has threatened to block the nomination from coming to a vote through the use of a filibuster, or extended debate, and thus it is likely Alito will be confirmed by the Republican-led Senate.