Specter caves on AG nominee Holder

Arlen Specter, who'd led GOP opposition to the nomination of Eric Holder as attorney general, now says he'll vote for confirmation.

Published January 27, 2009 9:10PM (EST)

The biggest obstacle standing in the way of Eric Holder's confirmation as attorney general has fallen. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had been the first to speak out about Republican concerns over Holder, and given his position he'd led the opposition. But on Tuesday, Specter announced that when Holder's confirmation comes up for a vote in the committee on Wednesday, he'll vote in favor.

Once the committee votes in favor of Holder -- and given Democratic control, it will -- his nomination will proceed to the full Senate for a vote. There, too, President Obama's pick to head the DOJ should have no problems. Even if Republicans decide to mount a filibuster, they likely won't be able to block confirmation; the Democratic caucus currently has 58 members, and assuming they all show up and vote in favor, Specter and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who's already come out in favor of Holder, would provide the remaining votes necessary.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Arlen Specter D-pa. Eric Holder