The former Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will support Eric Holder's nomination for attorney general, giving him a major boost toward confirmation.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), who chaired the panel for a decade beginning in 1995, told The Hill that he will support Holder. “I intend to,” said Hatch.
His decision could undermine GOP efforts to stall or block the confirmation. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Friday that Holder would be the only Cabinet nominee to face a tough confirmation fight.
Hatch said that Republicans should try to strike a cooperative tone with President-elect Obama during the first days of his administration.“I start with the premise that the president deserves the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think politics should be played with the attorney general,” he said.
“I like Barack Obama and want to help him if I can.”
As obstructionists, I understand that the GOP will do everything they can to attack Obama, but I didn't see the political advantage to start the process by targeting Holder's nomination. I guess Orrin Hatch understands that his party should at least appear to want to work with Obama with them being so loathed in America and all, at least for the time being.
Specter’s dismay at Leahy’s prediction is ironic, considering his past statements. On December 24, 2000, two days after then President-elect Bush announced that he had selected John Ashcroft for Attorney General and three weeks before Ashcroft’s confirmation hearings, Specter went on Face the Nation and confidently predicted that Ashcroft would be confirmed by the Senate:
SCHEIFFER: Senator Specter, you’re on the Judiciary Committee. Can John Ashcroft be confirmed?
SPECTER: Yes, I think he can be, and will be. I think the president is entitled to great latitude in the selection of his Cabinet officers. And I know John Ashcroft very well. He’s a first-rate lawyer. He was attorney general of Missouri.