What We Learned About Alito From Day One
But we learned plenty (albeit nothing new) about the Senators who made their little political speeches. We heard the traditional twaddle from the Dems. Ted Kennedy did an excellent job of underscoring why judicial activism is such a problem, by explaining what he expects from any Supreme Court Justice (courtesy, RCP). He wants predictable results, meaning that Alito needs to balance his percentage of verdicts between people of different races, to give the impression of "fairness". But such "fairness" is patently unfair, as it looks to political ideology and not law--the only thing our society offers us to determine how we ought to behave--to determine outcomes. Kennedy wants the rules on the field, and even the shape of the field itself to change to meet his political views. But that's fiat, and not justice. Skin color, alienage, religion, economic status, gender, sexual orientation and even political affiliation are the only proper considerations in Kennedy's ideal courtroom. Justice indeed.
The Republicans said their peace as well, but I found the remarks of Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in particular to be particularly appropriate in addressing the nature of the dispute over judicial nominations:
The question is why, with so many people from both sides of the aisle and across the ideological spectrum supporting your nomination, are liberal special interest groups and their allies devoting so much time and money to defeat your nomination? The answer, I'm afraid, is that there are a number of groups that do not want honest and fair-minded judges on the Supreme Court. Rather, they want judges who will impose their liberal agenda on the American people. These views are so liberal, of course that they cannot prevail at the ballot box.Very hard to lay it out more clearly. The electorate doesn't support the left's agenda because it conflicts with their values, the left doesn't care because they believe they know better than Americans what is best for them, and so they will use any means possible to enact their policies, even if it means violating the Constitution's very clear intent that the Congress be the only lawmaker.
The net of these hearings will be that about 22 votes will be against Alito no matter what he says. He'll probably scoot through with a vote just a little under 60. But not before a filibuster is either broken, or more likely defeated by a rule change. Of course, they may choose to abandon one before a rule change vote, but same would be seen as nothing short of an admission of stupidity and a display in flaccidity. Whatever the case, the Democrats lose.
If they fail to filibuster, their financiers and base will be enraged at them, and demoralized just in time for an election year to begin. If they pull out all the stops, they lose the filibuster power against judicial nominations--a power which does not make the kitchen table of most Americans.
This nomination could not have come at a better time.