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Kennedy Stepping Down From Judiciary

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), suffering from brain cancer, will step down from the powerful Judiciary Committee when Congress returns to Washington in January, the Boston Globe is reporting, citing an unnamed Democratic source:

The decision had nothing to do with the health of the legendary Democratic lawmaker, who is battling an aggressive brain tumor, the source said. Kennedy is determined to return to the Senate in January and wants to commit his efforts full-time to achieving the universal health care coverage he has been seeking for most of his 46-year career in the Senate, the Democratic source said.

The nine-term Kennedy is the number two Democrat on the committee, behind Chairman Pat Leahy (Vt.). People for the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued a statement Friday evening summarizing Kennedy’s time on the panel:

During his years on the Judiciary Committee, Senator Kennedy proved himself to be one of the Constitution’s staunchest defenders. His passion for justice and his deep commitment to equality under the law have helped to better our nation in countless ways.

If he’s successful in pushing though comprehensive health reforms, though, the decision will have been well worth it.

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