2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 23, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - John Roberts's nomi-
nation as chief justice cleared a Senate committee
on a bipartisan vote of 13-5 Thursday, with next
week's confirmation so certain that Republicans
and Democrats turned to urging President Bush to
move carefully in filling a second Supreme Court
"I will vote my hopes and not my fears, and
I will vote to confirm him," said Wisconsin
Sen. Herb Kohl, one of three Democrats on the
Judiciary Committee who supported Roberts's
nomination along with all 10 Republicans on the
"I don't see how anybody can justify a vote
against Judge Roberts, unless they want to nitpick
certain areas that you can nitpick on anybody,"
said Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
Five Democrats voted against Roberts, ques-
tioning his commitment to civil rights and express-
ing concern that he might overturn the 1973 court
ruling that established the right to abortion.
"The values and perspectives displayed over
and over again in his record cast doubt on his view
of voting rights, women's rights, civil rights and.
disability 'rights," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-
Mass.), said of the 50-year-old appeals court judge
and former Reagan administration lawyer.
The Democratic support for Roberts marked a
stinging defeat for the liberal groups that are lob-
bying energetically against confirmation, yet one
prominent conservative sounded unimpressed.
"We're supposed to think the Democrats equal
being magnanimous? Give me a break," said
Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society. He noted
that several Supreme Court nominees of presi-
dents of both parties have gained overwhelming
Judge John Roberts's confirmation as chief justice of the United States is now considered all but
bipartisan support in the past two decades.
The full Senate is to debate Roberts' nomina-
tion next week, with a final vote on Bush's pick to
replace the late William H. Rehnquist expected
on Thursday. That would allow Roberts to take
his place on the court before the justices begin
their new term on Oct. 3 - a key objective of the
There was scant sparring in the Judiciary Com-
mittee as 18 senators took turns reading prepared
statements laying out their positions. What passed
for suspense had dissipated on Wednesday, when
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the panel's senior
Democrat, announced he would support the nom-
With Roberts's confirmation a certainty, sever-
al senators on the committee were looking ahead
to Bush's selection of a replacement for retiring
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the committee's chair-
man, told reporters he thought the president
might name a successor shortly after Roberts's
confirmation. "He might wait until the following
Monday, but seeing how President Bush oper-
ates, I think it will be sooner rather than later,"
Al-Sistani endorses Iraq constitution
The country's most powerful Shiite cleric endorsed the draft constitution yes-
terday, rejecting opposition voiced by two popular leaders of Iraq's majority sect
and underlining a rift also on display in anti-British violence in the southern city
Two officials in the Shiite Muslim hierarchy in Najaf said Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani called senior aides together and told them to promote a "yes" vote among
the faithful during the Oct. 15 national referendum on the constitution.
The officials refused to be identified because they are not authorized to speak
for al-Sistani, who only issues statements through his office and makes no public
Iraq's minority Sunni Arabs, who lost power and privilege with the fall of Sad-
dam Hussein in the U.S.-led invasion, are deeply opposed to the constitution. They
form the bulk of the country's violent insurgency and have stepped up attacks on
Shiites in advance of the vote.
Passengers saw near-crash on onboaid TV
Letting customers watch TV at their seats has been a JetBlue calling card since
the airline took flight in 1999.
But the frill made for a bizarre experience as passengers aboard an airliner with
a crippled nose wheel watched news reports about their own flight even as they
prepared for an emergency landing.
Some of those aboard Flight 292, which landed safely Wednesday at Los Ange-
les International Airport, said later that they appreciated seeing news reports on
what was happening. Others were horrified.
"It was absolutely terrifying, actually. Seeing the events broadcast made it com-
pletely surreal and detached me from the event," said Zachary Mastoon, a musi-
cian heading home on the Burbank-to-New York flight. "It became this television
show I was inextricably linked to. It was no longer my situation, it was broadcast
for everyone to see. It only exacerbated the situation and my fear."
Katrina caused loss of more than 200k jobs
More than 200,000 people have lost their jobs because of Hurricane Katrina,
and more bad economic news is on the horizon as Hurricane Rita heads for the
Texas Gulf Coast and the country's biggest collection of oil refineries.
Even a glancing blow could send energy prices higher than their record peak
right after Katrina. And if Rita's damage to Texas refineries is severe enough, econ-
omists say, gasoline could top $5 per gallon.
"Some 20 percent of the nation's refining capacity seems to be right in
Rita's path. If that gets disrupted at all, then gasoline, jet fuel, natural gas
and home heating oil will surge higher," said Mark Zandi, chief economist
Delta to cut costs after filing for bankruptcy
A mere eightdays after filing forbankruptcy protection, Delta Air Lines Inc. signaled
yesterday it wants to move quickly to reduce costs as it announced it will, eliminate up
to 9,000 more jobs, slash pay for executives and other employees and cut domestic
capacity while adding more international flying.
The changes were not a surprise but the speed in putting them forth was, said airline
analyst Ray Neidl at Calyon Securities.
"It shows that they're determined to turn this airline around," Neidl said.
That won't happen without pain for many employees who stuck with the nation's
third-biggest carrier through nearly $10 billion in losses and earlier rounds of cuts that
shed 24,000 jobs since 2001.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A story on page 1 of yesterday's Daily misspelled the name of a University
spokesman. He shul aveh4 been identified as oe Srwah. _
A photograph on page 7 of Wednesday's Daily should not have said MSA
Campus Improvement Commission chair Stuart Wagner was speaking with the
assembly about a proposal to create a liaison to the Ann Arbor City Council. Wag-
ner was not in the MSA chambers when the proposal was being discussed.
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1327
Houston evacuation going slowly
HOUSTON (AP) - Hurricane Rita
closed in-on the nation's fourth-largest
city and the heart of the U.S. oil-refining
industry with howling 145 mph winds
Thursday, .sending hundreds of thou-
sands of people fleeing in a frustratingly
slow, bumper-to-bumper exodus.
"This is the worst planning I've ever
seen," said Julie Anderson, who covered
just 45 miles in 12 hours after setting
out from her home in the Houston sub-
urb of LaPorte. "They say we've learned
a lot from Hurricane Katrina. Well, you
couldn't prove it by me."
In all, nearly 2 million people along
the Texas and Louisiana coasts were
urged to get out of the way of Rita, a
400-mile-wide storm that weakened
Thursday from a top-of-the-scale Cat-
egory 5 hurricane to a Category 4 as it
swirled across the Gulf of Mexico.
It also made a sharper-than-expect-
ed turn to the right late in the after-
noon, on a course that could spare
Houston and nearby Galveston a
direct hit and send it instead toward
Port Arthur, Texas, or Lake Charles,
Rita also brought rain to already-bat-
tered New Orleans, raising fears that the
city's Katrina-damaged levees would
fail and flood the city all over again.
At 5 p.m. EDT, Rita was centered
about 405 miles southeast of Galves-
ton and was moving at near 9 mph. Its
winds were near 140 mph, down from
175 mph earlier in the day. Forecasters
predicted it would come ashore some-
where along a 350-mile stretch of the
Texas and Louisiana coast that includes
Port Arthur near the midpoint.
Forecasters warned of the possibil-
ity of a storm surge of 15 to 20 feet,
battering waves, and rain of up-to- 15
inches along the Texas and western
The evacuation was a traffic night-
mare, with red brakelights streaming
out of Houston and its low-lying sub-
urbs as far as the eye could see. High-
ways leading inland out of Houston, a
metropolitan area of 4 million people,
were clogged for up to 100 miles north
of the city.
Evacuees from the Houston and Galveston areas are seen moving
along Interstate 45, with all lanes traveling northbound in advance of
Hurricane Rita yesterday near Fairfield, Texas.
La., at least 60 miles up the coast, by
late Friday or early Saturday.
But it was still an extremely danger-
ous storm - and one aimed at a section
of coastline with the nation's biggest
concentration of oil refineries. Environ-
mentalists warned of the possibility of a
toxic spill from the 87 industrial plants
and storage installations that represent
more than one-fourth of U.S. refining
Pizza is on us for
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