From NBC's Ken Strickland and Mark Murray
According to Capitol Hill sources, it appears that Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions will become the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- after former ranking member Arlen Specter switched parties.
However, before this becomes official, it's subject to a vote among Judiciary Committee Republicans, as well as the Senate GOP caucus.
But Sessions taking the top Republican spot on the panel always seemed to be the most likely outcome. Orrin Hatch has the most seniority, but he's term-limited after previously heading up the committee. Jon Kyl would have to give up his leadership post. And Chuck Grassley would have to give up his ranking status at the Finance Committee.
Interestingly, Sessions saw his own appointment as a federal judge fall apart in the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 1980s, after Democrats attacked him for his insensitivity on racial matters, as well as prosecuting vote fraud.