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Friday, December 09, 2005

More Alito Musings From Sen. Specter

Yesterday, Marcie picked up the story from the Washington Post that Sen. Specter was sick of hearing the rhetoric of speculation about Judge Alito prior to the hearings. She missed this story from the Post yesterday where Specter said that Alito will "have to answer more questions" than Chief Justice Roberts did.


The Senate Judiciary Committee will demand that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. answer more questions than did Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and it may subject him to extra hours of grilling to do so, the panel's chairman said yesterday.

But Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), said he senses little enthusiasm among Democrats for a filibuster to block Alito, and he believes the nominee's fate will turn largely on "how credible he is" at the panel's confirmation hearing, which begins Jan. 9.

Credibility? Funny that Sen. Specter would bring up such a thing when the GOP base is wondering where his is. The idea that January was the soonest he could "squeeze" Judge Alito's confirmation hearings in is laughable. It seems to me that the committee's been twiddling it's thumbs over Alito, and the other judicial nominees still stuck in committee limbo.

"His nomination faces some real hurdles," Specter said in an hour-long interview with Washington Post editors and reporters. Senators will not allow Alito to sidestep as many questions as Roberts did during his confirmation hearing, he said, because Alito has far more judicial opinions to defend and because he wrote two controversial memos on abortion and other matters in 1985.

And his answers to those, no doubt, will be similar to Chief Justice Roberts' answers. That being, he was representing the administration and their arguments. As for his application, who hasn't stated something on an application for federal service to get the job. He didn't lie on the application, or on any of those memos. He simply stated what he knew the administration was looking for and for what they wanted to hear. I see no problem with this because his judicial track record shows a history of orginialist interpretations.

One of the memos asserted that the Constitution "does not protect a right to an abortion." The other, which Specter described as "a very strident advocacy memo," outlined Alito's advice on how "to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade ," the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states. Both memos were written when Alito, now 55, was a lawyer in the Reagan administration's Justice Department.

Specter, who supports abortion rights, said he will start the hearing by pressing Alito on his abortion views. "There are a lot of big, big issues that he has to answer, but this is the one which has captured the public's imagination," the chairman said.

"Judge Alito will have to answer more questions than Judge Roberts did," Specter said.

Sen. Specter tried to hit Roberts with the issue of abortion in his very first question during the confirmation hearings. It's disgusting that the liberals (and make no mistake, Sen. Specter is a liberal Reoublican) are focusing solely on Roe. Both Roberts and Alito have stated that as far as they're concerned, right now Roe is settled law. Until such a time when the court is willing to readdress this issue, they will abide by stare decisis; the precedent of the court.

Roberts managed to deflect several questions about his views on abortion and other topics -- sometimes to Specter's irritation -- but still won Senate confirmation comfortably on Sept. 29 after lawmakers in both parties hailed his mastery of constitutional issues. Republican and Democratic senators will be tougher on Alito, Specter said, in part because his two 1985 memos seem to state a vigorous and enthusiastic opposition to abortion rights and some forms of affirmative action programs.

As I pointed out earlier, Alito was representing the Reagan administration. He was, of course, going to argue things on behalf of that administration. That includes abortion, and that includes affirmative action. Affirmative action is a fancy-pants term for reverse discrimination. We give to minorities rights beyond those guaranteed in the Constitution to make up for past misdeeds. Instead of these people relying on their talents and their merits, they rely on a set of laws that instructs others to consider them based on their race or color. This is discrimination, and it's just as wrong today as it was when they were discriminated against in the past. Last time I checked, two wrongs don't make a right.

Specter said he will ask Alito, "What assurances can you give to this committee -- and the American people and all the litigants that will come before your court -- that your personal views will not have any impact, any weight, on your judicial decisions?" The senator said, "His reception is going to depend upon how credible he is."

Again with the credibility question. Judge Alito hasn't allowed his personal beliefs to enter into any of his decisions. At least none of those that we've read yet. All of them have sound jurisprudence behind the logic, and they're more than fair. He asks tough questions, and expects answers. If you don't give him one that makes sense, that's based on the law, he's not going to take it under consideration.

Specter noted that Alito has been an appellate judge for 15 years and therefore has ruled in far more cases than Roberts did in his two years on the appeals court. "If you go to his 300-plus cases, you can paint him in a lot of different shades of a lot of different colors," Specter said of Alito.

The only color that concerns us is that of his originalist philosophy. This is the same philosophy that won Chief Justice Roberts his confirmation, and killed the Miers nomination.

He said "there's a good chance" that Alito will spend more time before the committee than did Roberts, who faced 2 1/2 days of questions. But he said his plan is to conduct the entire hearing -- including senators' opening statements and outside witnesses -- in one week, allowing the full Senate to vote on whether to confirm Alito by the end of January.

Democrats have not ruled out a filibuster against Alito, but Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid's aides generally avoid mentioning the word. A filibuster would prevent a confirmation vote unless the nominee's supporters mustered 60 votes to end debate. Republicans hold 55 of the chamber's 100 seats. But chances of a filibuster appear "remote at this stage," Specter said, because "there is nothing they can point to" that suggests Alito is outside the judicial mainstream.

This is a nice contradiction here. If there's nothing to show him to be outside the "judicial mainstream," then where are the senator's concerns coming from. These guys need help. And this would have been done and over with a lot sooner had Sen. Specter pulled his over-inflated head out of his butt, and moved Judge Alito's hearings forward at a more immediate pace. Instead, he's been left to languish on the side as advocacy group after advocacy group launches attack after attack at him. All of these attack are unsubstantiated. They're low, dirty, full of misnomers, and completely uncalled for.

Specter has met twice in private with Alito. He later told reporters that the nominee said his personal views on issues such as abortion will not determine how he would rule from the bench. Asked about his reaction to Alito's comments, Specter said yesterday: "I don't have a comfort level, I have an open mind."

Meanwhile yesterday, three liberal groups said they will announce their opposition to Alito's confirmation today. They are the Congressional Black Caucus, the House Democratic Women and the Washington-based National Women's Law Center.

Sen. Specter can wring his hands all he wants, and fret about this or that. But Judge Alito will be confirmed. The liberals won't be able to lay a glove on him, as they were unable to do on Chief Justice Roberts, and if they try they'll look like idiots. There's no way they can stop someone like Alito from makiing it. He possesses a long track record of solid decisions rooted in jurisprudence. This isn't a judge like O'Connor, Breyer, or Souter who like to create extra-constitutional rights and protections for things that have no support in the law, or the Constitution itself. This is a solid nominee who will rule based on what he knows about the law, and nothing further.

Mistress Pundit


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