The most appalling thing about Specter’s narrow victory April 27 is that, if the GOP keeps Senate control, he may now become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, putting him in a better position than ever to block conservatives from the bench, keep abortion and cloning legal, and stop a federal marriage amendment.
Current Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) is term-limited by Republican Senate rules. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), the next most senior member of the committee, could become chairman only if he gives up his chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, which he has said he will not do. That makes Specter the heir apparent. If Senate Republicans worked up the backbone to oppose Specter’s becoming Judiciary chairman, conservative Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.) stands next in line to take the position.