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Senate Panel Delays Action on Reynolds

June 20, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee, lacking the votes for a favorable recommendation, voted 17 to 0 today to postpone action on the nomination of William Bradford Reynolds as associate attorney general.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), a strong supporter of Reynolds, who had been accused of misleading the panel during hearings, moved to report the nomination to the floor without a recommendation. But Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) countered with the successful motion to postpone the vote for a week.

At the White House, spokesman Larry Speakes said President Reagan has no plans to withdraw the Reynolds nomination.

Republican Balks

The Republicans, who control the committee 10 to 8, lost their advantage when Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said he would not vote for a favorable recommendation of Reynolds but would support a motion to report the nomination without a recommendation.

Specter said he was "very much concerned" with Reynolds' sworn testimony before the committee, which Specter said was misleading.

He specifically cited several examples where Reynolds did not testify completely about his position in several legal cases involving the civil rights division he headed.

Specter said he also was concerned that Reynolds "has by pattern placed himself above the law" by asking more than 50 jurisdictions to modify consent decrees because of his interpretation of a Supreme Court ruling--an interpretation that has been rejected by three federal circuit courts.

Positions Not Revealed

Two other senators, Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.) and Howell Heflin (D-Ala.), who said Wednesday that they were undecided, did not reveal their positions at the committee session.

President Reagan has been lobbying hard for his nominee after months of pressure on the committee by civil rights leaders, who contended that Reynolds' nomination should be blocked because he failed to enforce the law.

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