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Monday, January 09, 2006 

Let the Fun Begin

I'm watching Ted "Imperial Presidency" Kennedy puke a bunch of his garbage all over the Senate Judiciary Committee room. He's got a lot of guts trying to speak for what Americans think. Haha, he just called him Judge Alioto. First, it was the Goldwater presidency, now this. He doesn't even know who he's talking to right now. This buffoon has made a career on a family name that once meant something in this country. Unfortunately, it's been dragged through the mud by Jabba the Drunk here. This hearing is going to be a mess...

EDIT: Biden "Justice O'Connor was not afraid to go into the shadows." What the hell does that mean? If he doesn't stop talking soon, I'm fashioning a noose out of my belt.

EDIT KYL: Luckily, I managed to hold out until Biden finished his ramblings. Senator Kyl wins the award for first senator that hasn't forced me to walk out of the room in boredom/disgust. He is hammering on the fact that Judge Alito should not be forced to say how he would rule on cases that might come before the Court. I think the Democrats will try to make Alito go much more in depth than Chief Justice Roberts did at his hearings. Kohl is up next. Kathryn Lopez of The Corner just commented on Kohl, "If it weren't for SCOTUS hearings, I'd just completely forget he is there in the Senate." Yeah, he just sort of pops up every six years, we re-elect him, and he climbs into his Keebler Elf tree and hides.

12:30 EDIT: Listening to DeWine is slowing my heartbeat down. I'm actually fighting the urge to lay down. These endless quotations need to stop. I am not impressed by your research skills.

With Feinstein's ramblings beginning, I'm noticing something. The criticism of the Rehnquist Court's federalism cases is shared by members of both parties. The Court put limits on Congressional power to use the Commerce Clause to enact any legislation they want. Then in the next breath, they criticize the amount of executive power that the president has. They seem to forget that Congress is a body of limited and enumerated powers. They do not have broad police power. I guess their version of tyranny is okay.

FEINGOLD EDIT: Vanguard? Seriously? I'm not impressed. If this is the best that can be mustered against Alito, that's pretty pathetic. Ed Whelan of Bench Memos has a different take about that. "He's too smart to believe that this issue is serious. So this is a clear sign that he's going to play nasty." If that's true, my favorite senator can expect a lot of phone calls from me. I've got long breaks between my classes this week. I've got time to kill.

EDIT: Senator Graham takes on the "mainstream conservative" point. He says that if every Republican senator on the committee votes for Alito, then Alito is a mainstream conservative. He also says that Ted Kennedy is not the right person to decide who is a mainstream conservative. I agree totally. He also comments on how abortion is becoming an issue that is crippling the judiciary. It has become the litmus test, and people are talking about filibuster based solely on it. So far, I think Graham is the most honest of the senators. He's telling it like it is. "We like Ronald Reagan." Well stated.

SCHUMER MAKES ME PUKE EDIT: He totally mischaracterizes the Miers withdrawal. She was rejected by "the cadre on the Right" because she was not qualified to sit on the Court. It was a crony pick. She had no judicial experience, no constitutional law experience, and a very limited legal practice. There was no way that she was the most qualified person for the job. That is why she was rejected. And please stop kissing O'Connor's butt. You don't get to trade her for someone of equal philosophy. It doesn't work that way. If that was true, are you seriously saying that Ginsburg was a proper replacement for White (who dissented in Roe and Casey and wrote Bowers)? I feel sorry for Alito. He's just got to sit there and listen to all this crap. At least let the guy read a magazine or something.

DEJA VU EDIT: Brownback is making the same Ginsburg-White point that I just made. Seats on the Court are not reserved for ideologies. No one can argue with a straight face that there is a special moderate seat on the Court.

DOCTOR EDIT: Coburn says this whole thing is about Roe. He also points out the "schizophrenic" nature of our jurisprudence in these areas. Right to abortion, yes. Right to suicide, no. Right to sodomy, yes. Right to prostitution, no. He says that these splits are because there is no sound Constitutional foundation for much of these decisions. He didn't cry this time like he did during the Roberts hearing, so that's a plus.

EDIT: Lautenberg is putting me to sleep. I also just noticed that Specter kind of looks like an old version of James Woods.

WRAP UP: Alito's comments were good. I'm glad it's over though. Tomorrow is when it's really going to hit the fan. Kennedy has made it clear that he's going to be as scummy as possible. Based on the remarks by some of the Republican senators, they aren't going to let Kennedy do this with impunity. Whenever Kennedy decides to judge the actions of someone else, one person comes to my mind: Mary Jo Kopechne.

I'm expecting tough questions from Specter, but not too tough. I think he's on board with Alito, especially based on their 3rd Circuit ties. He's going to give Alito a chance to explain his Casey opinion and build some wiggle room. Aside from that, it's going to be a partisan battle. They will push Alito to answer more than Roberts did, and Alito will try to answer as little as possible to not get trapped. Alito's biggest advantage is that most of these senators cannot ask intelligent follow up questions. They work off of written scripts from staffers and law professors. Sure, they will know what answer they want to that question, but they don't know how to respond to an answer that doesn't go far enough. Chief Justice Roberts' answers in his hearings caused problems for many of the senators. When you know a lot about a difficult subject (like constitutional law), you are at a distinct advantage over someone who is asking you canned questions. Alito won't be as polished as Roberts, but he knows his stuff. If he keeps his cool and the Republicans fight back against the Kennedy-Durbin-Schumer crowd, he'll be fine.

Since it all comes down to abortion: I wonder how many Americans know that overturning Roe would NOT make abortion illegal, but simply send the issue back to the state legislatures where it belongs?

This is no doubt a fact that the Dems would like to keep secret.

Nice site... I'll be back.

I think that number is fairly low. A lot of people hear "overturn Roe" and they think "abortion becomes illegal". It's sad that many people have so little knowledge of civics and how our government works. All of these little hooks and issues keep us from discussing the real issue: is this an area that we want the courts deciding, or is this an area that we want the legislatures deciding?

ED (JAN 09 2006):
Alito's biggest advantage is that most of these senators cannot ask intelligent follow up questions. They work off of written scripts from staffers and law professors

NYT (JAN 11, 2006):
For the most part, [Alito's] handling of questions from Democrats had the effect of leaving his questioner shuffling through papers in search of the next question.

Well played.

I love to rip on senators, but I can't really fault them that much here. They just don't know these areas as well as people like Alito or Roberts. It would be like me trying to question an electrical engineer about his field.

It's still funny to watch though.

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