Thursday, November 18, 2004


Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican moderate seeking a key chairmanship in a party of conservatives, is drafting a written commitment of quick hearings and votes on President Bush's judicial nominees regardless of their views on abortion, party sources said Thursday....

Specter's written statement, apparently undergoing changes, largely covers positions he has staked out in public statements in recent days. Even so, several GOP sources said one early version was deemed unacceptable by Senate leaders in a meeting on Wednesday, particularly on the contentious issue of changing Senate procedures to eliminate the possibility of a filibuster by opponents of a nomination.

...Several sources said that inside the closed-door GOP meetings in recent days, Specter has been prodded to declare his support for such a change....


...after having been admonished by this Holy Office entirely to abandon the false opinion that the sun is the centre of the Universe and immovable, and that the Earth is not the centre of the same and that it moves, and that I was neither to hold, defend, nor teach in any manner whatsoever, either orally or in writing, the said false doctrine; and after having received a notification that the said doctrine is contrary to Holy Writ, I wrote and published a book in which I treat this condemned doctrine and bring forward very persuasive arguments in its favour without answering them: I have been judged vehemently suspected of heresy, that is of having held and believed that the Sun is at the centre of the Universe and immovable, and that the Earth is not at the centre and that it moves.

Therefore, wishing to remove from the minds of your Eminences and all faithful Christians this vehement suspicion reasonably conceived against me, I abjure with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith these errors and heresies, and I curse and detest them as well as any other error, heresy or sect contrary to the Holy Catholic Church....

--abjuration of Galileo, 1633


(UPDATE: So Specter went before reporters and "read from a statement he wrote that was cleared painstakingly in advance by committee members as well as the GOP leadership," and, in exchange for his dignity, he has his chairmanship.)

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