January 19, 2006

Sen. Leahy opposes Alito nomination

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont,
the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced
his opposition on Thursday to Supreme Court nominee Samuel

Leahy charged that President George W. Bush's 55-year-old
conservative candidate failed to demonstrate at last week's
confirmation hearing that he would bring a needed independence
to the nation's highest court.

"At a time when the president is seizing unprecedented
power, the Supreme Court needs to act as a check and to provide
balance," Leahy said in a speech prepared for delivery at
Georgetown University Law Center.

"I have no confidence that Judge Alito would provide that
check and balance," Leahy said. "I cannot support this

Other leading Senate Democrats planned to declare their
opposition later in the day to Alito, who nonetheless appears
headed toward confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate.