2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 12, 2006
Despite heated attacks
from Senate Democrats,
nominee keeps cool during
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court
nominee Samuel Alito turned asidei
Democratic attacks on his judicial
record during occasionally emotion-
al confirmation hearings yesterday,
declaring his impartiality and saying,
"If I'm confirmed I'll be myself."
At one point his wife, Martha-Ann1
Bomgardner, left the hearing room in
tears. Her husband was being ques-
tioned at the time by Republican Sen.E
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
"Are you really a closet bigot?"
Graham asked Alito. The nominee
said no, and Graham said, "No sir,
Alito had been responding to
repeated Democratic questioning]
about his noting in a 1985 job applica-
tion that he had been a member of a
controversial Princeton alumni group.
The nominee joined Democrats int
denouncing positions of the group.
"I am who I am and I am my own
person," said the 55-year-old appeals
court judge, who would replace
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in
what has been a swing seat on the
Under persistent questioning, Alito
declined for a second straight day
to say whether believes, as he did in
1985, that the Constitution contains<
no right to an abortion. "I don't think
it's appropriate for me to speak about
issues that could realistically come
up" before the courts, he said.t
Alito commands the support of all1
10 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary
Committee, and while Democrats canc
delay his approval by the panel they can-s
not block it. His prospects for confirma-
tion by the full Senate are also strong,t
although Democrats have not ruled out
the possibility of a filibuster that could
require supporters to post 60 votes.
Still, unlike Chief Justice John
Roberts last fall, Alito may draw the
opposition of all eight Democrats oni
the panel, and partisan maneuvering
was evident yesterday. _
Abortion triggered one incident. Sen.I
Richard Durbin, a Democrat who sup-I
ports abortion rights, told Alito that his
1985 written view on abortion "does not
evidence an open mind. It evidences a
mind that sadly is closed in some areas."
JERUSALEM - With Ariel Sha-
ron's condition gradually improving,
doctors hoped yesterday to com-
pletely remove him from sedatives
soon - a process that could take a
day and a half - so they can assess
what brain damage he suffered from
a massive stroke.
New polls showed that Sharon's
Kadima Party would easily win
March 28 elections and had even
gained strength since the popular
prime minister fell ill a week ago.
With Sharon in critical but stable
condition, the fight to choose his
successor began in earnest.
Kadima officials floated the idea
of giving Sharon the top slot on the
party's election list, while keeping act-
ing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as
its candidate for premier. The unlike-
ly proposal was strongly debated by
Israeli politicians yesterday in a sign
that the country's vibrant political life
was reviving after grinding to a halt
because of Sharon's stroke.
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu
ordered his party's Cabinet minis-
ters to resign from the government
Thursday, a long-planned move that
he put off after Sharon's stroke,
Israeli media reported.
Sharon's doctors said his condition
had improved slightly and they were
trying to wean him off the sedatives
that kept him in an induced coma,
though he remained on a low dose
~f t Retiva e'ct ~ ervaftern cnnn
NEWS IN BRIEF '
TEHRAN, Iran *
Sanctions likely for defiant Iran
The United States and Britain said yesterday that Western countries will
likely seek Iran's referral to the U.N. Security Council after it restarted
nuclear activity. Iran's president said his country would not be bullied and
would push ahead with the program.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he could not rule out the possibil-
ity that Iran will face economic sanctions.
International impatience with Iran was growing after it broke U.N. seals
at a uranium enrichment plant Tuesday and said it was resuming nuclear
research after a two-year freeze. Enriched uranium can be used as a fuel for
both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.
"I think the first thing to do is to secure agreement for a reference to the
Security Council, if that is indeed what the allies jointly decide, as I think
seems likely," Blair told the House of Commons in London, adding that he
was in close contact with Washington on the issue.
"We obviously don't rule out any measures at all," Blair said when asked
about possible sanctions. "It's important Iran recognizes how seriously the
international community treats it."
Bush fields questions about spying
After initial reservations, President Bush said yesterday that he isn't bothered
by congressional hearings into his domestic spying program as long as they don't
aid the enemy.
"That's good for democracy," Bush said, provided the hearings don't "tell the
enemy what we're doing."
In the days after the secret wiretapping without warrants was revealed, Bush
cautioned against hearings, saying that congressional leaders had been privately
consulted and that he had worked within the law to authorize eavesdropping on
Americans with suspected ties to terrorists.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter ( R-Penn.) has promised hearings on
the issue, and the Senate Intelligence Committee could also investigate. House
Democrats have asked their Intelligence Committee for hearings, and Demo-
crats on the House Judiciary Committee plan to hold a forum on the monitoring
program's legal ramifications on Jan. 20.
In Louisville, Bush hosted a casual, town hall-type event reminiscent of his
campaign stops. Bush paced, with microphone in hand, like a talk show host in
front of signs that left no doubt about the administration's message of the day:
"Winning the War on Terror."
Bush's approval rating bumped up slightly to 42 percent in Dec., but it remains low,
with 40 percent of Americans approving and 59 percent disapproving of the way he's
doing his job, according to the latest AP-Ipsos poll conducted the first week of January.
Man convicted for trying to kill Bush
Yesterday a court convicted a man of trying to assassinate President Bush
and the leader of Georgia by throwing a grenade at them during a rally last
year, and it sentenced him to life in prison.
Vladimir Arutyunian also was convicted of killing a policeman during
a shoot out while authorities were trying to arrest him several weeks after
the May 10, 2005, grenade incident at a rally that drew tens of thousands of
people to the capital of this former Soviet republic.
The grenade that Arutyunian threw during the rally attended by Bush and Presi-
dent Mikhail Saakashvili landed about 100 feet from the stage where they were
standing behind a bulletproof barrier and did not explode. No one was hurt.
Arutyunian, 27, has acknowledged that he threw the grenade in the direction of
the stage and said he would try again to kill Bush if he had the chance.
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba
Pretrial hearing begins for detainees
A U.S. military commission began a pretrial hearing yesterday for a Yemeni
man charged with conspiracy and who served as Osama bin Laden's bodyguard.
Two U.S. soldiers guided Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al Bahlul into the
courtroom on this military base on the eastern tip of Cuba, where some 500
people captured in the U.S. war on terrorism are detained. Some have been
held as long as four years.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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