Souter Gains 3 Votes; Panel's OK Is Assured

From Associated Press

Supreme Court nominee David H. Souter gained three more votes Wednesday on the Senate Judiciary Committee, assuring his approval by the panel when it votes today.

The endorsements by Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Herbert Kohl (D-Wis.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) brought to 10 the number on the 14-member panel publicly in favor of Souter's nomination. None had come out against him by late Wednesday.

Grassley was the last of the committee's six Republicans to announce his support. He said he was concerned about Souter's testimony on activism by the courts.

During his confirmation hearings, Souter said there were instances where the court might step in to fill a "vacuum" if the other branches of government fail to act.

Leahy and Kohl were the third and fourth of the committee Democrats to support Souter. Other Democrats on the committee have withheld their endorsement, largely because Souter refused to state a position on abortion rights.

Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) was pushing for a quick vote by the full Senate to put Souter on the bench Monday, the start of the court's fall session.

Meanwhile, three liberal senators who are not on the committee joined Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) in opposing Souter's nomination. The three are Sens. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), Frank R.Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.).

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