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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Reflections on the Alito Hearings

Mindful of the series of posts on the Alito confirmation hearings, I wanted to share my own reflections on the proceedings just concluded.

1. Lindsay Graham was half-right: During the second round questioning, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina dramatically warned that mean-spirited smear tactics in the confirmation process will reduce the number of qualified men and women who are willing to offer themselves for service on the federal courts. "Let me tell you this," Graham intoned "Guilt by association is going to drive good men and women away from wanting to sit where you're sitting [Judge Alito]...." To my mind, the observation is accurate and, what is perhaps surprising to Senator Graham, part of a deliberate strategy by senate Democrats. It seems clear that Senators Kennedy, Schummer and Durbin want to send an unambiguous message to all the members of the Federalist Society: If you are nominated, we will scour every last detail of your life, and when that fails to find anything amiss, we will just make stuff up about you. The Democrats threaten and smear because the question of confirmation is simply one part of their processes. The larger goal is to diminish Alito as a person and jurist; to marginalize him; and to make him radioactive in the community. If the Democrats are even remotely successful in this effort, they conclude, perhaps some would-be judges in the Federalist Society will conclude that the honor of being nominated is not worth being attacked and scarred in this way. And for their part, the Democrats are completely unphased by the prospect that such tactics reduce the esteem of the Senate, their standing in it, and do real violence to the federal courts. All in a day’s work....

2. The hearings offered a peak into the liberal mind and it is really scary in there: My personal scream-out-loud moment was when Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) suggested that the best way to resolve an employment discrimination case was for Judge Alito to query his wife, at home, about the facts that were at issue in the lawsuit. Says Biden: "And that's why the decision confuses me [Judge Alito]. I think all you probably have to do is turn to your wife and say, 'Hey, you know, the real world, when you're pregnant, does that sometime inhibit the amount of time you're able to -- you're required to be away from your job?'" The exchange makes clear that not only do Senate liberals have no idea how appellate courts judges are supposed to do their work but also how they hope that these judges will ignore the facts and law of case as they are presented and achieve the results that please the women at home (and presumably, on their fundraising and volunteer lists).

Oyez. Oyez. God save that honorable court and the United States.