Samuel Alito coasted toward confirmation as the 110th Supreme Court justice Thursday, ending 18 grueling hours of Senate interrogation with Democrats showing little appetite for a last-ditch filibuster attempt on the Senate floor.
"I am my own person, with whatever abilities I have and whatever limitations I have," Alito declared as he wrapped up his final public appearance before senators begin voting on his nomination to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Democrats contend the former Reagan administration lawyer is likely to swing the court to the right in replacing the centrist Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has provided decisive votes on such important issues as abortion, capital punishment and affirmative action.
Judiciary Committee senators are scheduled to meet next Tuesday to begin debating the 55-year-old federal judge's nomination. Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., had wanted a committee vote then, but Democrats have talked of seeking a delay.
At the same time, Sen. Dick Durbin, a member of the committee and his party's second-ranking leader, suggested Democrats would not attempt to filibuster, which would require Republicans to gain 60 votes to advance the nomination. "When you consider the numbers involved, it is unlikely," he said.
Sorry, and call me a cynic, but I wont be comfortable until the votes are all in. After 3 days of seeing liberal senators disrespect, malign, lie and do any and everything to discredit Alito's character and credibility, I refuse to take these MoveOn-controlled snakes for granted.