Date: January 13, 2006
Senator: General - Introductions
SPECTER: The hearings for the confirmation of Judge Alito for the Supreme Court of the United States will now reconvene.
I've just been discussing with Senator Leahy the allocation of time, and we had seven judges who testified yesterday who exceeded the five minutes. I thought it the better part of prudence to not bang the gavel, but allow them to go on, but they did take some extra time -- in the seven, eight, nine minute range.
So, I just said to Senator Leahy that we'll give seven of the witnesses selected by Democrats five extra minutes, or he can allocate the time as he chooses. I don't want to split hairs over how much the exact time was.
But I think it's very important to keep the balance, and we did that in the selection of the number -- 30. In the past it had been divided about 18 to 12, with the majority party taking more. But we have worked out the arrangement of 15 to 15, to keep it level.
LEAHY: Mr. Chairman, if I might on that, you have been fair. Ultimately, of course, everything has to be determined based on what the nominee says. But these public witnesses are important in deciding whether we replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with Judge Samuel Alito.
I think they help focus, as the witnesses yesterday did, on aspects of his record and events with respect to civil rights and privacy rights. These are long-time pioneers in our nation's sometimes rocky journey toward equal justice and respect for women's rights. They're the people in the frontline today.
We'll hear from representatives of minority communities. We'll have a number of written statements.
And as I've said over and over again, we're the only 18 people who get to ask questions on behalf of 295 million Americans and generations for a long time to come. So I think these hearings are important.
Again, I thank you for your courtesies and your fairness in keeping them going.