[JURIST] US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website], chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], said Thursday that the committee will hold further hearings on the nomination of White House aide Brett Kavanaugh [White House backgrounder] to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Democrats have called for another hearing on the nomination to determine the extent to which Kavanaugh was involved in setting administration policies on interrogation of detainees and the NSA's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] and whether Kavanaugh played a role in the administration's relationship with former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive], who has been convicted on corruption charges. Specter scheduled the hearing for next Tuesday, with a committee vote on the nomination to follow Thursday.
President Bush nominated Kavanaugh to serve on the federal appeals court in 2003, but the nomination has stalled over Democrats' concerns about his role in setting White House policy. Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) [official website] said that he was considering a filibuster of Kavanaugh's nomination [JURIST report] and a second controversial nomination which would appoint Judge Terrence Boyle [US DOJ backgrounder] to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] has said he wants a full Senate vote on the Kavanaugh nomination before Memorial Day. AP has more.