Washington (CNN) - Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy says he plans to put a confirmation vote for Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the committee calendar this coming Tuesday.
However, committee rules allow any one senator to delay consideration of any nomination for one week, and the committee's ranking Republican, Jeff Sessions, suggested to CNN that a week's delay is likely.
"That would be only four days after the end of the hearings, that would be really fast," Sessions told CNN, noting that this is the "U.S. Supreme Court."
Sessions emphasized that he has no interest in delaying the process, but suggested holding a vote next week would be too soon.
Leahy told CNN the ultimate Democratic goal is to hold a full Senate vote before the August recess, and said he is confident that will happen.
Sessions said he has no plans for a filibuster.
"A nominee is entitled to an up-or-down vote," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court now seems virtually guaranteed to move on a fast-track in the U.S. Senate, as a top Republican told senators that he opposes a filibuster and expects a final vote on Sotomayor in the next three weeks.
Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, is his party's ranking member on Judiciary Committee.
Thursday morning, as the committee entered its third round of questions for Sotomayor, he told the New York judge that he will oppose any effort to filibuster or block her nomination and that he does not expect Republicans to mount one.
He then said, "I look forward to you getting that vote before we recess in August."
The words immediately sparked murmurs in the hearing room. For weeks, Sessions and other Republicans have been vocal in expressing concerns about any vote before the August recess.
The Democratic caucus now has 60 votes in the Senate and could override a filibuster move if they united, but many questioned if Republicans would try to push back the Sotomayor vote regardless.
(CNN) - A new poll of likely voters in New Jersey indicates that Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie has a eight point lead over the incumbent, Democratic Governor Jon Corzine. The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey survey also suggests that a helping hand today by President Barack Obama may not provide a lot of help to Corzine.
Forty-five percent of people questioned in the poll, released Thursday, say if the election for governor were held today, they'd vote for Christie, a former federal prosecutor. Thirty-seven percent would back Corzine, the Democratic incumbent who's battling for a second term, and four percent would vote for Independent candidate Christopher Daggett.
The current poll closely matches the results of a Quinnipiac University survey of likely New Jersey voters released Tuesday, which indicated that Christie holds a nine point lead over Corzine in a three person race including Daggett.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sonia Sotomayor might be pushing her likely future colleagues to work harder.
Asked Thursday by Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, if the Supreme Court should increase its caseload, the nominee told her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing that it appeared the docket could be increased.
"It does appear that the Supreme Court docket has lessened over time," Sotomayor said on the fourth day of the committee's confirmation hearing. "Because of that, it does appear it has the capacity to take on more cases."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A GOP senator told Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor Thursday some of her speeches "bug the hell out of me" but conceded most of her rulings were "generally mainstream."
The expression of frustration followed by renewed questions aimed at getting Sotomayor to reveal more about her personal views was again the hallmark of Republican questioning in the fourth day of Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.
"You've said some things that have bugged the hell out of me," said South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.
"Your speeches are disturbing, particularly to conservatives. ... Those speeches to me suggested gender and racial affiliations in a way that a lot of us wonder, will you take that line of thinking to the Supreme Court in these cases of first precedent."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee raised $8 million in June, the party said in a statement issued Thursday.
The RNC also said it has no debt and nearly $24 million in cash on hand.
Last month, the average donor contribution was $35, according to the RNC, and the committee received more than 231,000 contributions.
The Democratic National Committee hasn't yet released its fundraising numbers for June 2009.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton is almost debt-free from her failed bid for the presidency.
Exactly one year after announcing it was a staggering $25.2 million in debt, her campaign reported Wednesday carrying its smallest amount of unpaid campaign bills since the former New York senator and current U.S. Secretary of State first began her presidential bid in early 2007.
As of June 30, Clinton's campaign organization owed $1.5 million in unpaid bills and had $2.5 million in the bank, according to a new disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Previously, the smallest amount of debt the campaign had reported was $1.6 million in March 2007, roughly two months after Clinton launched her presidential bid. As the race for the Democratic nomination grew more competitive, the campaign's debt grew steadily and reached its peak on June 30, 2008, just three weeks after Clinton suspended her campaign.
At that point, Clinton's campaign owed $12 million to almost 500 individual creditors and an additional $13.2 million to the candidate herself, who used her own money to help keep her operation afloat. Campaign finance laws forced Clinton to forgive the amount she loaned her committee because she was not able to repay the funds by the required deadline.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A counterterrorism program the CIA concealed from Congress was never put into full effect and played no significant role in the conflict with al-Qaeda and other extremists, the CIA said Thursday.
"The program (CIA Director Leon Panetta) killed was never fully operational and never took a single terrorist off the battlefield," CIA spokesman George Little said in a written statement.
"Those are facts he shared with Congress. We've had a string of successes against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and that program didn't contribute to any of them."
At issue is Panetta's testimony in June to a congressional committee that he was told former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the intelligence agency to withhold information about the secret program from Congress. Several key Senate and House Democrats have argued Cheney acted inappropriately in issuing such an order.
Panetta terminated the program when he found out about it last month.
Panetta briefed lawmakers on June 24 on the unspecified program, according to a publicly released letter from seven House Democrats to Panetta. The June 26 letter characterized Panetta as testifying that the CIA "concealed significant actions from all members of Congress, and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week."
The letter contained no details about what information the CIA officials allegedly concealed or how they purportedly misled members of Congress.
–CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama hits the campaign trail Thursday - not for himself, but for fellow Democrat Jon Corzine.
The president is the main attraction at a rally in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, for Gov. Corzine, who's fighting for re-election this year.
While Obama has headlined seven political fundraising events this year, this will be the first campaign rally he's attended for a fellow Democrat since taking over as president in January.
A poll of New Jersey voters released this week suggests Corzine trails Republican challenger Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, by 12 points. The same Quinnipiac University survey indicates that six out of 10 Garden State voters approve of the job Obama's doing as president.
The rally was originally scheduled to be held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but the Corzine campaign says the event was moved to an outdoor amphitheater to accommodate a crowd larger than originally expected.
"The president looks to Gov. Corzine as a friend, somebody who was head of the campaign committee for Senate Democrats when he was running in 2004," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.