I've been watching Arlen Specter for most of my life, and all I can say is, if you think he can be trusted, you're just not paying attention. He needs to prove he can't be controlled, and it's always when you least expect it. Harry Reid must have cut some kind of deal with him on the SCOTUS nominee, and while I hope I'm wrong, I predict he will be more trouble than he's worth:
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--President Barack Obama's first nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court could be an early test for Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter as a newly minted Democrat.
Specter's announcement this week that he was switching parties after 43 years in the GOP rocked Washington and put the Democrats close to a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate.
Specter could prove a key vote in any fight over Obama's Supreme Court pick if the Republicans attempt to amount a filibuster of the president's choice to replace Justice David Souter, who is retiring.
"I would expect him to support Obama's nominee unless it's a real radical," said Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute.
Sheldon Goldman, a political-science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said Specter's vote could be "absolutely crucial" and predicted that the senator would be a strong backer of Obama's pick.
"Obama is in a terrific position," he said.
When it comes to Senate consideration of Supreme Court nominees, the Pennsylvania senator has perhaps the most colorful history of any current lawmaker, having angered colleagues in both parties.
"I supported very conservative nominees like Justice [Antonin] Scalia and very liberal nominees like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," Specter said in Philadelphia Friday. "I think that's the way it ought to be."