Democrats Deny Specter Seniority

Arlen Specter was hoping to keep the seniority he accrued in several key committees during his years as a Republican. Instead, Senate Democrats have placed him in junior slots on each of the five committees on which he serves. Democrats have suggested that they will consider revisiting Specter's seniority claim after the midterm elections next year, but the move may actually hurt his bid for reelection. Without committee seniority, he cannot claim that that he is in key positions to benefit his constituents. He will lose out, for example, on an appropriations subcommittee chairmanship, a critical foothold he has used in the past to disperse billions of dollars to Pennsylvania. The fall may also take a toll on his pride. After having chaired the committee and ran the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Specter will now be the last senator to ask questions of an eventual Supreme Court nominee.