Specter wants moderate Supreme Court justice

WASHINGTON – The chairman of the Senate committee that will oversee hearings on President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee said Sunday that he would like to see a moderate in the tradition of retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and perhaps someone with experience in politics.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he didn’t want to recommend a specific candidate, but he said he would like to see a nominee who has experience outside the judiciary, which would rule out many of the candidates that Bush is said to be considering.

The candidates mentioned most often are federal appeals court judges: Samuel Alito, Emilio Garza, J. Michael Luttig, John Roberts Jr., Michael McConnell and J. Harvie Wilkinson III.

Specter said on “Fox News Sunday” that he would like Bush to pick “somebody who’s had more experience, somebody who’s been out in the world and has a more varied background.” He said someone who has been in politics might be a good choice.

FBI says it has files on rights groups

The FBI has thousands of pages of records in its files relating to the monitoring of civil rights, environmental and similar advocacy groups, the Justice Department acknowledges. The organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Greenpeace, are suing for the release of the documents. The organizations contend that the material will show that they have been subjected to scrutiny by FBI task forces set up to combat terrorism. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, said the disclosure indicates that the FBI is monitoring organizations that are engaging in lawful conduct. “I know for an absolute fact that we have not been involved in anything related to promoting terrorism and yet the government has collected almost 1,200 pages on our activities,” he said. The FBI has denied singling out individuals or groups for surveillance or investigation based solely on activities protected by the Constitution’s guarantees of free speech.

Credit counselors lose exempt status

The Internal Revenue Service has revoked the tax-exempt status of four credit-counseling agencies and is challenging the status of another “two handfuls,” an agency official said. The revocations are part of a federal and state crackdown on nonprofit credit-counseling agencies after hundreds of consumers complained about deceptive and fraudulent marketing practices, including high fees, high-pressure tactics and inadequate educational services.

N.Y.: Baby freed from rubble is OK

A 7-month-old girl who survived a building collapse when her deluxe stroller folded around her like a cocoon has been released from the hospital after two days. Abby Lurensky blinked and wiggled Saturday, showing no signs of her ordeal, as her parents made a brief appearance outside their Manhattan apartment. They declined to take questions from reporters. Abby was largely unhurt, thanks to the cover from the shower of debris provided by her Mountain Buggy Urban Double Stroller and to her nanny.

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