Senator's Comments on Today's Vote

Republican Senators on the committee voted for Alito and include Arlen Specter (Penn.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Sam Brownback (Kan.), Charles Grassley (Iowa), and Tom Coburn (Okla.).

Senate Judiciary Democrats who opposed him are Edward Kennedy (Mass.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Joseph Biden (Del.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold (Wis.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

Below are some of their comments before and after today’s vote by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Penn.):

"I think it is, unfortunately, it is so partisan. I think it is not a good sign for the country to have the appearance for a party-line vote but senators vote as they choose. We really need to have the party-line straightjacket taken off.

"I’m personally sorry to see a party-line vote out of this committee and very close to a party line vote out of the full Senate but we all have our points of view. I hope Judge Alito would consider himself confirmed by all the people if indeed he is confirmed.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah):

"All of the evidence points to a judge who can render justice with respect to persons. The reason why so many senators cannot support Judge Alito is because they cannot support a limited judiciary."

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass):

“In evaluating Supreme Court nominees, there is no more important question than whether they are dedicated to equal justice under law. Judge Alito is highly intelligent, but his record does not show a judge who is willing to enforce the constitutional limitations on executive power when government officials intrude on individual rights.

“That is why I oppose his confirmation to the Supreme Court.”

Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.):

“Judge Alito not only deserves a fair, up-or-down vote by the Senate — he deserves to be confirmed. Sam Alito’s qualifications to serve on the Court are unmatched by any nominee since the Taft administration. And his integrity, temperament and fair-mindedness are beyond reproach.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif):

"If one is pro-choice in this day and age, in this structure, one can’t vote for Judge Alito. It is simply that simple."

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.):

“At a time when the President is seizing unprecedented power, the Supreme Court needs to act as a check and to provide balance. Based on the hearing and his record, I have no confidence that Judge Alito would provide that check and balance. I will vote against granting the Senate its consent to this nomination by this President.”

John Cornyn (R.-Texas):

"We all agree that Judge Alito is well-qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court. So it is unfortunate that we cannot all agree to treat his nomination in a fair, civil manner. Judge Alito deserves to be confirmed, and he will be confirmed. I’m proud to support his nomination."

Sen. Herb Kohl (D.-Wis.):

“Judge Alito has the right to see, read, and interpret the Constitution narrowly. And we have the obligation to decide whether his views have a place on the Supreme Court. I have decided they do not, and so I will oppose Judge Alito’s nomination today.”

Sen. Russ Feingold (D.-Wis.):

"Judge Alito’s record and his testimony have led me to conclude that his impulse to defer to the executive branch would make him a dangerous addition to the Supreme Court at a time when cases involving executive overreaching in the name of fighting terrorism are likely to be such an important part of the Court’s work."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.):

"He still believes that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion, but does not want to tell the American people because he knows how unpopular that view is.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.):

"He’s committed to showing restraint. He will follow the law day after day. And some days conservatives will win and some days liberals will win. And that’s what we want in a judge."