Senate Judiciary Republicans voted Tuesday to make Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama the ranking member on the committee, meaning he will lead the public Republican review of President Obama's judicial nominees. He's a philosophically rigorous if not particularly aggressive conservative who was blocked from appointment to a federal judgeship in 1986, the victim of partisan and activist attacks for being "racially insensitive." Depending on the Supreme Court nominee, those attacks will return as means of weakening Sessions' position.
- Montgomery Advisor, "Sessions wins Judiciary Committee post"
- Politico, "Jeff Sessions is the GOP's new point man"
- The Hill, "Sessions less likely to opt for filibuster"
As for Sen. Specter (D-PA), Democratic leadership stuck it to him. The Washington Post reports that Specter was placed in junior positions on Judiciary and Appropriations. From "Senate Democrats Deny Specter Committee Seniority":
When Supreme Court nomination hearings are held later this summer, Specter will be the last senator to ask questions of the eventual nominee -- a dramatically lower profile than in 2005 and 2006, when he chaired the committee and ran the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.