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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Danger Will Robinson: Alito Attacked, Dems Still Befuddled


Today is a good day.

At least, for our side it is. On their side, however, they're running amok with no head, and no way to see they're about to run into the biggest brick wall they've ever hit. Yes, the long knives are coming out for Samuel Alito, but they're going to miss the mark. This will leave the liberals with one of two options.

Pass him to the Supreme Court.

Or, filibuster him; roll the dice, and take the chances that Frist is as weak as the GOP's base believes him to be.

The following comes from the New York Times today:


Even before Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. arrives on Capitol Hill for his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee appear lined up solidly against him. The big question is whether they will try to block the nomination by filibuster, and if so, which side will be left standing when the political dust settles.

For Judge Alito, the son of an Italian immigrant who grew up in the New Jersey suburbs with a dream of being a major league baseball pitcher, the hearings are a hurdle between him and an even bigger dream.

After months of meeting senators privately and staying mum before the press, the hearings will provide him with a forum to emerge from the shadow of the previous nominee, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

The hearings, expected to last four days or more, will also give Judge Alito his first opportunity to confront Democratic critics, who plan to spotlight the issue of domestic spying as much as abortion. How he answers their questions, on topics like his 1985 statement that the Constitution does not protect a right to abortion, will determine whether Democrats try to keep him from the job.

Typical of the Times to pick up on two issues that Judge Alito isn't going to be too open about. This year, the high court is addressing an abortion case, which shows the issue is still quite relevant in the realm of legality. And most it surrounds incremental steps being taken to further the phony right. This has been challenged in regard to late-term abortions (those occurring up until the birth date in the final trimester), parental notification of a minor wishing to have one, and spousal notification of the intent to have one. As long as abortion issues still reach the court, Judge Alito, under the guidelines of legal ethics, can't answer these questions. He can answer questions regarding his view about abortion. And like Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Alito has stated that, as he sees it, Roe is settled law. The courts have ruled, and until they rule otherwise, he must rely on that precedent, no matter how much he may personally dislike the practice. And it would be wise for people to remember when the rhetoric starts about how he will turn over Roe that a single justice on the court can't do that. It takes a majority, and one doesn't make a majority.

On the issue of NSA surveillance, of which I see the Times still beating this dead horse--irrelevant as it is--to death, Judge Alito isn't going to say much. This issue may reach the court in a matter of months if someone presents an appeal to the court regarding it's legality. And we should have nothing to worry about when it comes to Judge Alito. If he is as firm a believer in the Constitution as we believe him to be, he will rule based upon what it says. This is why this is a no-go for the Democrats. The courts that have dealt with this issue in the past have set the precedent; that being that the president has the power to do such things during a time of war. Now, with all due respect to my fellow conservatives, "a time of war" is subject to interpretation. Did a state of war exist between the US and Iran? No, one never has, yet Pres. Carter used surveillance to keep an eye on the Iranians in America. Likewise, Reagan did the same after the Beirut bombings and a series of hijackings; he wanted to keep an eye on thise in the nation working for these organizations, no matter their capacity. After the Oklahoma City bombings, Pres. Clinton began surveillance over the "militia" groups in America because of the evidence he had in hand regarding the bombing; Timothy McVeigh had ties to the groups.

All of this was done under the auspice of national security, and that surveillance was granted through the FISA court. But the idea being presented that the FISC was a "rubber-stamp" court is horse hockey. Since 2001, the FISC has modified plenty of requests from the White House since this war started. And it's had it's fair share of denials handed back from the court. So, whereas the past is the past, today, we have an administration attempting to protect the nation, and a court that isn't too fond of some of his ideas in that regard.

Next up is the "other" Times from the Left Coast:

Twenty years ago, a Reagan administration lawyer proposed that when the president signed a bill passed by Congress, he should use the occasion to declare how he interpreted it.

"The president's understanding of the bill should be just as important as that of Congress," wrote Samuel A. Alito Jr. in a 1986 memo. Spelling out those thoughts "would increase the power of the executive to shape the law," he added.

President Bush put that idea to work two weeks ago in a little-noticed statement that followed his signing of the muchcelebrated McCain amendment, which forbids cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners here and abroad.

His words appeared to turn a legislative defeat into a White House victory. Bush said he would back the torture ban so long as it didn't conflict with his "constitutional authority" as commander in chief and his need to "protect the American people from further terrorist attacks."

Moreover, Bush asserted that the measure would preclude federal courts from hearing all claims of mistreatment from prisoners abroad, a point disputed by some Senate Democrats.

This week, as Alito goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, it will be seen whether Bush's boldness in asserting powers of the presidency has complicated the confirmation prospects for his nominee to the Supreme Court. Along with abortion rights, executive power has moved to the forefront in the battle over Alito's confirmation.

How utterly pathetic can the media be? Abrotion rights questions? Executive power questions? Abortion is a settled issue for Judge Alito. And the powers of the executive branch are laid out in Article II of the Constitution. Among the powers the president has are: Commander in Chief of the military, the ability to make treaties, appoint Ambassadors, Ministers, Consuls, Judges, and other officers of the US not provided for, and to appoint officers to vacancies. Those are all listed. But, the power in question that Judge Alito is sure to be asked about are the war powers of the president. To solve this problem with the committee, Judge Alito might just want to cite the first clause of Section 2, regarding the president. That would be the one that outlines where his authority lies in regard to the military. When war is declared, the president is large and in charge. He calls the shots. He makes the calls. A good president coordinates with his field commanders in an effort to defend the homeland, and defeat the enemy. Thus far, we've seen the president in action, and he knows what he's doing. This isn't LBJ running everything out of the White House, but the president is doing a good job in handling his duties in the war.

"Does he believe in any checks on presidential power?" asked Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in previewing his questions. "Does he believe that warrantless wiretapping of Americans is constitutional?"

From the same piece, little Chuckie Schumer thinks he's going to get straight-forward answers on both of those questions. Judge Alito is simply going to point to precedent--precedent that has been held up for a long time in America in regard to the president's powers during wartime--and make Schumer look like a moron. Of course, Schumer rarely needs help for this.

"Because he has had some very strong statements, he is under an obligation to accept or refute those, and if he just tries to avoid them the assumption will be made that he still believes them. That puts him in a difficult position," Mr. Schumer said. "On the other hand, blocking a nominee is a big deal. So who knows? Everyone's waiting."

The above comes from the New York Times piece. I'm interested to know what "difficult" position that Judge Alito might be in. He's been quite consistent in his rulings in regard to the Constitution. His decisions show not only a solid regard for what the Constitution says and means, and hasn't resorted to any sort of progressive, judicial activism.

"The president goes ahead and signs it, and then says he retains the inherent power to go out and torture just like before," Kennedy said. "It reflects an arrogance of power and a contemptuous attitude toward Congress."

For his part, McCain issued a terse statement saying the new law did not include "a presidential waiver on the restrictions" against torture and inhumane treatment. "We believe the president understands Congress' intent," said McCain and Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee. "Our committee intends through strict oversight to monitor the administration's implementation of the law."

Maybe these three forgot something that is a key in Constitutional Law: No act of Congress--laws passed, amendments passed--may contravene the Constitution. This was an inherent FACT that was made clear by the Framers.

Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.

No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. --Both quotes from Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #78

For all those progressive minded people out there, Hamilton was one of the Framers, and I think his idea in the regard to this issue is pretty clear. The torture ban, should it stand contrary to the president's powers, is null and void. This also goes for Campaign Finance Reform. Everyone was upset over the provisions within it curtailing the citizen's rights to free speech. Incorrect. no law may contravene the Constitution, and the last time I checked the Bill of Rights was part of that document.

Then, I happened across this last night. (Too tired to type, I shelved it for today.) This comes from the Drudge Report:

Senate Democrats have put into place a plan that includes one last push to take down the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito as he heads into his confirmation hearing next week, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Senate Democrats intend to zero in on Alito’s alleged enthusiastic membership to an organization, they will charge, that was sexist and racist!

Democrats hope to tie Alito to Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP).

Alito will testify that he joined CAP as a protest over Princeton policy that would not allow the ROTC on campus.

THE DRUDGE REPORT has obtained a Summer 1982 article from CAP’s PROSPECT magazine titled “Smearing The Class Of 1957” that key Senate Democrats believe could thwart his nomination!

In the article written by then PROSPECT editor Frederick Foote, Foote writes: “The facts show that, for whatever reasons, whites today are more intelligent than blacks.”

Senate Democrats expect excerpts like this written by other Princeton graduates will be enough to torpedo the Alito nomination.

One Democrat Hill staffer involved in their strategy declared, “Put a fork in Scalito. It doesn’t matter that Alito didn’t write it, it doesn’t matter that Alito wasn’t that active in the group, Foote wrote it in CAP’s magazine and we are going to make Alito own it.”

This staffer is an idiot. You can't make him "own" anything he wasn't personally responsible for. That would be like how "Slow Joe" Biden claimed that a piece he wrote a while ago was his instead of fessing up from the start he has plagerized it.

However, a Republican insider contacted about the situation said, “It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The reason CAP was formed was to protest against people like Dujack who think killing chickens is similar to what happened at Auschwitz. I don’t understand how what a guy named Foote wrote in some magazine has anything to do with Alito.”

Dujack is a ’76 Princeton graduate and a longtime critic of CAP. Dujack was the author of a highly critical 1986 op-ed in the PRINCETON ALUMNI WEEKLY titled “The Contradictions Of CAP.”

Dujack slammed the group for its policies opposing Princeton's decision to admit women and minorities.

Dujack now says: "Judge Alito will have to explain to the Senate Judiciary Committee why he paid dues to an outfit... that was overtly racist and sexist for its entire 14-year existence — at times passionately so, too."

Dujack adds: "There is no way for Alito's backers to claim his association with the organization does not imply endorsement of its views, for opposition to women and minorities at Princeton was as central to CAP as opposition to drunken driving is to MADD."

And that argument is not only patently idiotic, but also blindly stupid. If I join a health spa that is overtly snooty and cliqueish, does that make me the same as those other people? Hardly. If the Democrats intend to put Dujack up to attack Judge Alito, then they had better give him a big bat; he's going to need it because Judge Alito has reinforcements arriving on his behalf (cited below this Drudge Report piece.)

However, THE DRUDGE REPORT has learned the Democrats’ star witness comes with baggage of his own. Dujack penned an op-ed in 2003 that compared farm animals to Holocaust victims and gave money to the Kerry presidential campaign.

In the April 21, 2003 LOS ANGELES TIMES, Dujack wrote: “Like the victims of the Holocaust, animals are rounded up, trucked hundreds of miles to the kill floor and slaughtered.” Dujack went on, “To those who defend the modern-day Holocaust on animals by saying that animals are slaughtered for food and give us sustenance, I ask: if the victims of the Holocaust had been eaten, would that have justified the abuse and murder?”

OK, the Democrat's star witness just left Earth for Venus with that one. I can understand maintaining one's beliefs, but there is a point wherew those beliefs border on absurd, which is exactly what that statement is: It is unavoidably, undeniably absurd, and grossly uneducated.

THE DRUDGE REPORT has also uncovered a purported $2,000 donation Dujack made to John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004.

The following comes from yesterday's Washington Post. Sen. Specter is allowing a few of Judge Alito's collegaues to come to his aid, and testify on his behalf before the Judiciary Committee. This, in effect, swings the argument in Alito's favor; they will be testifying regarding his philosophy, not ideology which is exactly what the Democrats are going to target.

Seven current and former federal appellate court judges will testify on behalf of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. next week, an extraordinary role for the sitting judges who will be dealing with a colleague who could be positioned to uphold or overturn their rulings.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said yesterday that he agreed to allow the judges -- all current or retired colleagues of Alito's on the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit -- to address the panel because they can speak to some of the most contentious issues surrounding the nominee.

"They will testify about his approach to judging, as to whether he has an agenda, as to whether he is ideological, whether he pushes any specific point of view," Specter said in an interview.

Specter will chair the weeklong confirmation hearing, to start Monday, in which Democrats have vowed to press Alito aggressively about his antiabortion statements, support for a powerful executive branch and other matters. Senators from both parties predict the confirmation battle for Alito to be tougher than that for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who was approved 78 to 22 by the Republican-controlled Senate in September. The judges are tentatively scheduled to appear on Thursday. The Democratic and Republican sides have chosen 15 witnesses each.

Specter's office said some district court judges have testified on behalf of Supreme Court nominees, but there is no record of appellate judges doing so. The Senate historian's office said its research agreed with Specter's findings, but it noted that there was not enough time on short notice to extend the research to the Supreme Court's earliest days.

But there is no prohibition on such testimony, Specter said, and the seven judges are well-positioned to comment on Alito's "approach to judging" because they joined him in discussing and voting on hundreds of cases. "I think the judges' panel will liven things up," Specter said.

Specter said he sees no conflict of interest for either Alito -- who, if confirmed, would review the rulings of the judges expected to praise him next week -- or for the judges, who might want warm ties with a Supreme Court justice able to rule on their decisions that are appealed to the nation's highest court.

Their favorable testimony would be in character, given their long-standing relationship with Alito, Specter said. "If confirmed, he would be one of nine people reviewing their cases," and their testimony to the Judiciary Committee would be unlikely to sway him at all, Specter said. Alito and the judges have "a confluence of interests," not a conflict, he said.

One of the seven sitting and retired judges may be drawn into Democrats' questions about Alito's truthfulness. Anthony J. Scirica, chief judge of the 3rd Circuit, has defended Alito's role in a ruling on a 2002 case involving the Vanguard Group investment firm after Alito had told the Senate in 1990 that he would avoid such cases. Alito and his supporters say he acted properly, but Democrats have said they will press him about the various explanations he has given in the matter.

The Democrats' witnesses, announced Thursday, include a lawyer involved in the Vanguard case.

The other judges scheduled to testify next week are Edward R. Becker, Maryanne Trump Barry (sister of developer Donald Trump), Ruggero J. Aldisert and Leonard I. Garth. They will be joined by retired judges John J. Gibbons and Timothy K. Lewis. All were appointed by Republican presidents, except Aldisert, who was named by Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.

Becker is a longtime friend of Specter and Alito, and was key to assembling the group, Specter said. He said he asked Becker last year whether he "would feel comfortable testifying" for Alito. Becker eventually agreed, Specter said, and then recruited the others.

Specter said the seven might not limit their remarks to Alito, but use the televised forum to explain judicial issues that get blurred in partisan fights over nominees. A judge takes an oath "to decide cases on the law and the facts," not on political beliefs, Specter said. "They can explain that."

The Democrats' 15 witnesses do not include sitting judges. Specter said it did not occur to him to tell Democrats of his plan to invite the appellate judges. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, declined comment yesterday.

Things are definitely shaping up for this fight, and mark my words: It could very well be a fight. That remains to be seen, and it also depends on how much the Democrats really want to push their opposition. Judge Alito could provide a breaking point for the party in 2006. We'll sit back, wait, and see.

Mistress Pundit


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good analysis and observations. teddy, schumer, leaky will be ever so serious in their stupidity and I will lol at them. I will include rino specter. I'm not impressed with the committee or those that sit on it. I have every confidence that Alito will defect the blows and keep his composure. Rawriter. Note: Lower case of first letter of names is intetnional to show my lack of respect for the person.

12:06 AM  

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