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Specter squeaks in

The week's news at a glance.

Washington, D.C.

Republican leaders agreed last week to make Sen. Arlen Specter chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, over the complaints of conservatives. Normally, Specter would have won the job automatically, as the ranking committee member from the Senate’s majority party. But the pro-choice Republican outraged pro-lifers when he warned President Bush that the Senate wouldn’t confirm a strongly anti-abortion Supreme Court nominee. Activists said the comment showed that Specter could not be trusted to usher Bush’s nominees through the Senate. But Specter won over his colleagues by pledging in writing to hold prompt votes on all Bush nominees. He also said he would do everything he could to oppose Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees. Specter won’t formally get the job until January, when the new Congress convenes.

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