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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Gonzales vote postponed

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday postponed its vote to confirm attorney general-nominee Alberto Gonzales after Democrats complained that the Texan dodged specifics regarding his role in shaping new interrogation policies.

The White House counsel’s written answers to questions submitted by senators amounted to “gross evasion and non-responsiveness,” charged Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., as he requested the one-week delay.

The committee’s chairman, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said Gonzales had made a “good-faith” effort to answer the senators’ questions, providing more than 200 pages of written answers. Still, he said he would review the answers to see if the committee should request further explanation.

White House spokeswoman Erin Healy urged the Senate to act quickly on the nomination, saying Gonzales responded to all questions in a timely manner.

Though Gonzales is expected to be easily confirmed by the committee next week and by the Senate after that, Kennedy and several other Senate Democrats said they are rethinking their support for him.

A leading Latino civil-rights organization, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, issued a statement Wednesday saying it cannot support Gonzales, who would be the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general.