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Bush Wants Senate Vote on Alito

In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Bush urged the Senate to confirm his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sam Alito. Some Senate Democrats say they will try to use a procedural move to block the vote and delay his confirmation.

President Bush says Senators have a constitutional responsibility to hold an up-or-down vote on Alito's nomination to the nation's highest court.

"Throughout its 216-year history, the Senate has held an up-or-down vote on every Supreme Court nominee with majority Senate support," said President Bush. "Judge Alito has demonstrated that he is eminently qualified to serve on our nation's highest court, and America is fortunate to have a man of his integrity and intellect willing to serve."

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Alito this past week on a strictly party-line vote with 10 Republicans from the president's party approving the choice and eight opposition Democrats voting against.

Republicans have the votes in the Senate to confirm Alito, but Massachusetts Democrats John Kerry and Ted Kennedy say they are trying to organize a legislative blocking maneuver that would delay a vote.

Not all Senate Democrats support that confrontation. And President Bush used his radio address to single out some of those from the opposition party who support the judge, including Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.

President Bush says Judge Alito has earned the respect of colleagues and attorneys across the political spectrum throughout his career.

"As Americans saw in his confirmation hearings, Sam Alito is a man of great character and integrity," he said. "He has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years. He understands that the role of a judge is to strictly interpret the law, not to advance a personal or political agenda."

Democrats opposed to Alito fear he will make the Supreme Court more conservative as he would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is considered a moderate and was often the swing vote on decisions involving abortion rights and other issues.

The Senate's Republican leadership has scheduled a vote on Alito's nomination for Tuesday, which could have the judge confirmed ahead of the president's State of the Union address on Capitol Hill Tuesday evening.