Politics

Specter open to GOP presidential nomination, rethinking support for Alito and Roberts

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter said Wednesday that he is open to being the GOP presidential nominee in the event of a brokered convention, and that he is reconsidering whether he was right to shepherd the nominations of Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Promoting his book “Life Among the Cannibals” on MSNBC program “NOW with Alex Wagner,” Specter said anything was possible with a brokered convention, even his own candidacy.

“Well, it’s a little late now for me to enter the race,” Specter said. “But if there’s a brokered convention, who knows. When they had the debate the other night, I was mentioned more often than Iran. I had more attention than the Ayatollah or unemployment. I ran for president in 1996. The other day, I got more publicity than I got in my entire campaign. So when you ask me a wide open question … well, I never say never.”

Specter also addressed his support for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito during their confirmation processes, during which he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He admitted he is having second thoughts.

“Well, I’m rethinking that,” said Specter, who was a Republican senator from 1981 to 2009, before becoming a Democrat in 2009 when it appeared likely that Pat Toomey would defeat him the GOP primary.  In 2010 he lost the Democratic primary, ending his three decades in the Senate.

“I will say this about Roberts and Alito — I’m disappointed in their testimony before the Judiciary Committee,” he said. “They both promised to follow precedent and to respect congressional fact finding. And their decision in Citizens United was a 180-degree turn. They disregarded recent Supreme Court decisions. They disregarded 100,000 page record. They didn’t live up to what they testified to in the confirmation.”

However, Specter didn’t declare their confirmations to be a mistake. “It’s still a little early in their careers,” he added. “The Arlen Specter juror is still out on that question.”

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