The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 1 to approve David Souter's nomination to the Supreme Court today, as respect for the New Hampshire jurist's intellect outweighed liberal concerns about his views on abortion.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) cast the only vote against Souter.
The full Senate is expected to confirm Souter, probably next week--shortly after the Supreme Court begins its new term. He would become the court's 105th jurist and replace Justice William J. Brennan Jr., who retired in July after 34 years on the court.
Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) joined with six other committee Democrats and all six Republicans in supporting Souter. Like many of his Democratic colleagues, Biden said he was troubled by uncertainty surrounding Souter's positions on rights issues including abortion.
"He's about the best, though, that we're going to be able to do from this Administration," he said.
President Bush, in Cleveland to campaign for Republican candidates, said the committee vote "is good news for all of us who are committed to the Constitution of the United States. He'll be a superb justice for the Supreme Court."