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Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has repeatedly insisted, as he did in 2003, that "Every judicial nominee who reaches the Senate floor deserves an up or down vote. That's fair and what the Constitution requires."

On May 19, however, Hatch's vote on a filibuster against Goodwin Liu's long-delayed judicial nomination helped deny an up or down vote that Hatch insists "the Constitution requires."

Matt Canham reported that Hatch "was the only senator to vote 'present' on Thursday. He refuses to vote to block a nomination from going forward but didn't want his vote misconstrued as supporting Liu's nomination." ("Lee cites Alito criticism in voting against judicial nomination," Tribune, May 20)

But as columnist Jamie Dupree explained: "There's only one problem with that argument — voting 'Present' on a cloture motion is the same as voting 'No.' You need 60 'Yes' votes to break a filibuster — and it doesn't matter how many senators vote 'Present' or 'No.''"

Glenn Sugameli

Washington, D.C.