WASHINGTON – Text of a statement by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., at a news conference Thursday at which other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they would support him becoming the panel's next chairman:
I have not and would not use a litmus test to deny confirmation to pro-life nominees.
I have voted to confirm Chief Justice Rehnquist after he voted against Roe v. Wade. Similarly, I have voted to confirm pro-life nominees Justice Scalia, Justice O'Connor, Justice Kennedy. And I led the successful fight to confirm Justice Thomas, which almost cost me my Senate seat in 1992.
I have assured the president that I would give his nominees quick committee hearings and early committee vo action could be promptly scheduled.
I have voted for all of President Bush's judicial nominees in committee and on the floor. And I have no reason to believe that I'll be unable to support any individual President Bush finds worthy of nomination.
I believe I can help the president get his nominees approved, just as I did on confirmation of two controversial Pennsylvania circuit court nominees, when other similarly situated circuit nominees were being filibustered.
I have already registered my opposition to the Democrats' filibusters with 17 floor statements and will use my best efforts to stop any future filibusters.
It is my hope and expectation that we can avoid future filibusters and judicial gridlock with a 55-to-45 Republican majority and election results demonstrating voter dissatisfaction with Democratic filibusters.
If a rule change is necessary to avoid filibusters, there are relevant recent precedents to secure rule changes with 51 votes.
I intend to consult with my colleagues on the committee's legislative agenda, including tort reform, and will have balanced hearings with all viewpoints represented.
I have long objected to the tactic used in bottling up civil rights legislation in the Judiciary Committee when it should have gone to the floor for an up-or-down vote. Accordingly, I would not support committee action to bottle up legislation or a constitutional amendment, even one which I personally opposed, reserving my own position for the floor.