Few senators have had as much impact on the federal judiciary as Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), and in one of his final Senate speeches today, Specter sought to extend his influence a bit more.
Specter, who lost his re-election bid in this year’s Democratic primary, called for several rule changes that would make it easier for judicial and executive branch nominees to win confirmation. He said only 51 votes, rather than 60, should be needed to end a filibuster of a nominee, and he proposed ending the practice of allowing 30 additional hours of debate after debate has been cut off. He also said the Senate should end the practice of secret “holds,” which allow a senator to delay a nominee anonymously and often indefinitely.
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