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Conservative Democrat balks on approving Alito to court

RAW STORY
Published: January 24, 2006

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One of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) today announced he would vote no on Judge Samuel Alito Jr.’s confirmation to the Supreme Court -- raising the possiblity of a filibuster, RAW STORY has learned. Just one Democrat has said he'll vote to confirm Alito.

Nelson's release follows.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida today announced he would vote no on Judge Samuel Alito Jr.’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

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Alito, President Bush’s nominee to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, won a narrow 10-8 approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier in the day. The full Senate is expected to vote later this week or early next week.

Nelson, who withheld an announcement until the judiciary panel had finished its hearings on Alito, disclosed his intention to vote no shortly after the committee’s final meeting. Said Nelson:

“I have voted for almost all of President Bush’s judicial nominees; and, I greeted Judge Alito’s nomination with an open mind. But his many legal writings, judicial opinions and evasive answers both at his hearing and in our private meeting, convinced me he would tilt the scales of justice in favor of big government over the average person.

“Because he is not the centrist voice I believe this nation needs to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who fiercely defended the rights and liberties of all Americans, I’m going to vote no on his confirmation.”

All told, during five-plus years in the Senate, Nelson has voted for 215, or 96 percent, of the president’s 225 judicial picks, including Miguel Estrada and Chief Justice John Roberts.

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