The new Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter keeps appearing in the news. He has already ticked off many who supported him with controversial staff hires, statements and policy positions. Those of you who read Powerblog! know that his nomination was strongly opposed and it was a disappointment to learn Sen. Santourm supported Spector against his conservative opponent Pat Toomey. There is talk of punishing fellow Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum for backing Specter's candidacy for the Judiciary chairmanship. Santorum himslef will have a tough reelection fight in 2006 against Bob Casey Jr.
Specter this week went back on his word to Republican caucus members and conservative groups when he hired Hannibal Kemerer, the former assistant general counsel with the NAACP, and Carolyn Short, who is married to Joe Torsella, who ran as a Democrat in Pennsylvania for Congress. Specter hired both to serve as counsels on the committee. These two are liberals who have been opposed to the President and other republicans in th past. Since they were hired by Spector, I'm told they will have open access to all files, notes and meetings conducted by conservative republicans. Senate Democrats have already asked for new hearings on resubmitted nominees. Some are attempting to figure out what can be done to have Specter removed as chairman but as we all know, once you cast your vote you must live with the results.