Specter: Gonzales nomination 'premature'

Sept. 11, 2005 at 7:23 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., says it would be premature for President George W. Bush to nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court.

"I believe it's a little too soon for Attorney General Gonzales to move up," Specter said Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press." "He's an able fellow, but we just went through a tough confirmation hearing and my sense is that the national interest would be best served if he stayed in that job right now."

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter will preside over a confirmation hearing for U.S. Judge John Roberts, Bush's nominee to replace the late William Rehnquist as Chief Justice. Bush originally nominated Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has said she will retire as soon as her replacement is confirmed.

Specter told "Meet the Press" he hoped Bush would seriously consider naming a woman and a member of an ethnic minority to replace O'Connor.

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