Institute of Politics Director Richard L. Thornburgh concluded his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday and is expected to be confirmed later this week as the next attorney general before Congress goes into recess for the Republican National Convention, Senate aides said yesterday.
The Judiciary Committee has tentatively scheduled a vote to recommend Thornburgh for Wednesday afternoon, according to an aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54 (D-Ma.), who chaired the hearings in the absence of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.)
If, as expected, Thornburgh is recommended for confirmation by the committee,an attempt will be made to waive a Senate rule soThornburgh's confirmation can be voted on by thefull Senate Thursday before its three-week recessfor the convention, an aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch(R-Ut.) said.
The aide added that he did not foresee anydifficulties in scheduling the vote for the fullSenate on Thursday.
In the hearings Friday, the committee askedThornburgh questions about his role in keepingfrom Congress a 1975 Justice Department report ondrug trafficking by Panamanian leaders.Thornburgh, who was head of the Criminal Divisionat the time, denied playing a part in the decisionto keep Congress unaware of the problem.
In addition, Senators questioned Thornburghabout his position on civil rights, gay rights,abortion and what he planned to do about JusticeDepartment investigations of current AttorneyGeneral Edwin Meese III and Assistant AttorneyGeneral William Bradford Reynolds, both of whomhave come under attack for improprieties while inoffice.
Despite those questions, many politicalobservers have said that Thornburgh, who has beenwidely praised for his competence and personalintegrity by both Democrats and Republicans,should have no difficulty being confirmed to fillthe post.
The former Pennsylvania governor was nominatedin July to fill the position by President Reaganafter Meese announced he would vacate the postnext month