Sessions could gain from Specter's defection

Senator Jeff Sessions
Senator Jeff Sessions

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama could become the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee with Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania leaving the GOP to become a Democrat this week.

The move puts Sessions in line to become chairman of the influential committee if Republicans regain control of the Senate.

And it would give him a lead role in judicial nominations, immigration and other issues the committee controls.

It's the second time this year that Sessions has stood to gain from a Republican defection.

In February, he was poised to become the senior Republican on the Budget Committee when President Barack Obama nominated Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire to be Commerce Secretary.

But Gregg changed his mind and stayed in the Senate.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)