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Nominee narrowly wins
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Judi-
ciary Committee favorably recommended
Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomina-
tion to the full Senate on a party-line vote
yesterday, moving the conservative jurist
one step closer to joining the high court.
All 10 Republicans voted for Alito,
while all eightDemocrats voted against
him. The partisan vote was almost pre-
ordained, with 15 of the 18 senators
announcing their votes even before the
committee's session began.
The full Senate expects to take a final
vote on Alito's nomination before the end
of the week. That vote is also expected to
follow along party lines, with only one
Democrat - Ben Nelson of Nebraska
- coming out so far in support of Alito.
Republicans hold the balance of power in
the Senate 55-44, with one independent.
Senate Republicans say Alito is a good
choice for the nation's highest court.
"Like America's founders, Judge Alito
clearly believes in self-government, that
the people and not judges should make
law, and that judges have an important
role but must know and stay in their prop-
er place,"'said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.).
But Democrats are fretting that the 55-
year-old jurist and former lawyer for the
Reagan administration will swing the
court to the right and help overturn prec-
edent-setting decisions like Roe v. Wade,
the Supreme Court's abortion rights case,
although he refused to talk about that
decision at his confirmation hearing.
"He still believes that the Consti-
tution 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," said Sen.
Charles Schumer (D-NY.).
In a statement after the vote, the White
House said: "The negative tone, relent-
less attacks and distortion of Judge Alito's
career confirmed what we already knew
from the hearings: Judge Alito had an
open mind but the Democrats, beholden
to their interest groups, did not"
"Democrats have repeatedly twisted
and distorted Judge Alito's positions to
the point where they are unrecogniz-
able," said spokesman Stephen Schmidt.
"Democrats' relentless politicization of a
process that has traditionally been above
partisan politics is disappointing."
Even with the party line vote, Demo-
crats are not expected to filibuster Alito's
nomination. The Senate will begin final
debate today, and Republicans hope to get
a final vote by Friday.
Jet misses runway,
collides with warehouse
in California airport
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) - A pri-
vate jet overshot a runway and crashed
in flames yesterday, killing all four
people aboard, authorities said.
The Cessna 560 came in for a land-
ing at Southern California McClel-
lan-Palomar Airport on a flight from
Hailey, Idaho, but went about 150
yards beyond the runway, smashing
through scaffolding and slamming
into a commercial storage facility,
said Bill Polick, spokesman for the
San Diego County Department of
It was not clear if the plane ever
touched down on the runway, he said.
The cause of the crash was not
immediately known. Polick said the
weather was clear and sunny with
only light wind.
Norman Boyd said he saw the
plane as he drove near the airport on
his way to work.
"Its landing gear was up and it
was going down really fast," Boyd,
who worked on aircraft in the Navy,
said in a telephone interview. "It was
heading toward the runway and the
approaching speed was way beyond
what it should be."
Th Matnnl Tron nr'.rtn tinn n 0f-hty,
Gonzales: Spying program necessary
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended the Bush administration's domestic
spying program yesterday and suggested that some critics and news reports have mis-
led Americans about the breadth of the National Security Agency's surveillance.
Gonzales said the warrantless surveillance is critical to prevent another terror-
ist attack within the United States and falls within President Bush's constitutional
authority and the powers granted by Congress immediately following the Sept. 11,
2001 terrorist attacks.
At a Georgetown Law School Forum, Gonzales said the nation needs "to remem-
ber that ... it's imperative for national security reasons that we can detect reliably,
immediately and without delay" any Al-Qaida related communication entering or
leaving the United States.
As he spoke, more than a dozen students stood silently with their backs turned to
the attorney general. Outside the classroom where Gonzales was to speak, a pair of
protesters held up a sheet that said, "Don't torture the Constitution."
Gonzales cautioned his listeners about critics and journalists who have mischar-
acterized details about the program. "Unfortunately, they have caused concern over
the potential breadth of what the President has actually authorized," he said.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Palestine's first parliament elections today
Thousands of police guarded ballot boxes yesterday and rival militants pledged
not to disrupt voting on the eve of the first Palestinian parliament election in a decade
- a cliffhanger vote on whether to pursue peace or confrontation with Israel.
The battle between the ruling Fatah Party and its Islamic Hamas rival was sure to
tilt the balance of a Middle East torn between reform and traditionalism. But concerns
over lawlessness, corruption and unemployment also weighed on voters' minds.
Some undecided voters said they want to punish Fatah for years of mismanage-
ment, but fear Hamas will usher in an Islamic theocracy.
"We hope to see change in the Palestinian Authority, that those who were stealing
money will be replaced ... and to have peace with Israel," said Jaber Saadeh, a 50-year-
old unemployed construction worker who since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising
in 2000 has been living on a $150-a-month handout from a U.N. aid agency.
UPN and WB to fold, make way for CW
Two small, long-struggling television networks - UPN and The WB -
will shut down this fall and programming from both will be used to launch
a new network aimed mainly at young and minority viewers.
The new network will be called The CW - "C" for CBS Corp. and "W"
for Warner Bros. - each of which will own half of the new entity and con-
tribute programs, assets and executives to the venture.
The new network will draw on programming from both UPN, whose
shows include "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Veronica Mars," as well as
from the slate of The WB, which includes "Supernatural," "Smallville" and
Kuwait's pliament names new prime minister
It was a painful and public struggle as Kuwait's parliament and Cabinet stepped
in yesterday to end an unprecedented leadership dispute in a country where tribal
honor and ruling family prerogative run deep.
Shortly after parliament voted unanimously to oust the ailing emir, who had
ascended the throne just nine days earlier, the Cabinet named Prime Minister Sheik
Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah to take power in the oil-rich U.S. ally.
Despite the embarrassment of an open quarrel within the ruling family, the lead-
ership change served as a clear sign of the growing political maturity - if not full-
blown democracy - in this tiny slice of the Mideast.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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