Friday, January 20, 2006

You say 'Sc'Alio, I say 'Bork'Alito, let's call the whole thing off...

While taking stock of TBWA’s most recent posts, Scott and I realized an error…

We haven’t lent our unique wit, wisdom and knowledge to anything recently about the SCOTUS nomination of Samuel Alito (or ‘Sc’Alito or ‘Bork’Alito – use whichever you prefer)

So, we decided to rectify that and the two of us drew straws to see who would write this post and I won…or lost… depends on your POV.

Quite a lot has happened since the softball game that was the Alito confirmation hearing ended last week, so let’s look into the events of the last few days.

A cavalcade of Democratic senators (which include a few that supported John Roberts nomination as Chief Justice) announced this week that they will oppose Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Why? Well, we’ll get to that momentarily. But first, let’s keep in mind that this development is seriously underscoring the sharp partisan divide that has evolved over Alito's nomination. Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed with a total of 78 votes and had solid bipartisan support behind him… it looks as though the exact opposite will happen with Alito.

While Democrats appear to be uniting in their opposition to Alito, they are not as united when it comes to the option of pursuing a filibuster or not. (A filibuster, btw, that seems less and less likely with each given day)

While the filibuster option seems to be losing steam, the Democrats are more united than ever in their desire to ask for an extended floor debate over the confirmation. Why? Because the Dem’s firmly believe what the polling data shows, that the more the American people learn about Alito's record and writings, the more they will oppose his addition to the high court. It should also be noted that Richard Durbin (D-IL), in his role as the Minority Whip (esentially the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate behind only Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)) has the job to count votes for and against Alito and he has said that he won't know until Tuesday if there are enough strong opponents to filibuster Alito's nomination.

Democrats who have now announced that they will vote against Alito are the aforementioned Richard Durbin (D-IL), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Ken Salazar (D-CO), Max Baucus (D-MT) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). To keep tabs on who gets added to this list, check out this link from Daily Kos.

It should be noted that Leahy, Salazar and Baucus voted in favor of Roberts’s confirmation as Chief Justice.

So, getting back to what I promised earlier, why are these Democratic Senators shying away from voting yes on the confirmation of Alito? Well, besides the fact that it would signal the end of the world were he to be confirmed, the senators in question warned that Judge Alito would not provide a judicial check over the ever-widening growth of presidential power and that he wouldn’t be suitably attentive about protecting the rights of ordinary Americans such as you and me. Including, but not limited to concerns over the “President’s” authorization of warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens.

Specifically, some of the Senator’s have their own reasons to not back the nomination. Kennedy called Alito's record “clear and ominous” on issues of executive powers. Kennedy continued by stating that “The record demonstrates that we cannot count on Judge Alito to blow the whistle when the president is out of bounds.”

Another Senator, Richard Durbin, said he would not vote for Alito because, in replacing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (who often was a critical swing vote on the court and was the fifth vote in 148 out of 193 SCOTUS cases that were decided by a 5-4 margin) Alito’s views on privacy, abortion and executive power were out of step with mainstream public opinion. Add to that the fact that Alito was evasive in answering questions on some of these questions during the confirmation hearings.

(Only one Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson (D-NE), has announced his support for Alito. To which I say ‘you are a tool sir.’)

As of right now, no Republicans in the Senate have announced an oppositional stance on Alito with most, if not all, expected to vote for his confirmation. Senator Jim Jeffords, a Vermont Independent who usually votes along Democratic lines, has not yet announced how he will vote.

Senators John Sununu (R-NH) and John Warner (R-VA) announced their support for Alito after meeting with him earlier this week. Alito also visited some Democrats this past week, paying visits to Tom Carper (D-DE) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), neither of which has yet to announce how they’ll vote.

As Republicans come together around Alito, conservative organizations announced plans to air radio/television ads in states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana and Arkansas) that Bush carried in 2004 but are represented by (at least one) Democrat in the Senate.

The Judiciary Committee (which has 10 Republicans and 8 Democrats) is expected to vote on and approve Alito's nomination next Tuesday (in a vote that will seemingly be split down party-lines) with the full Senate expected to debate and vote on the nomination later that same week.

The Democrat’s need to take the bull by the horns and do what has to be done to try and derail the Alito nomination. Stop resting on your ‘laurels’ and act… don’t just talk, DO SOMETHING.

And along those lines, let me close with a quote from an Alito posting on Daily Kos by Armando, who sums up things nicely;

“And all you Democratic Senators who dream of being President someday, remember that Alito is 55, he'll be around for a while. And when you want to call yourself pro-choice when you run for President, I guarantee you someone will be there to remind folks how you voted on the Samuel Alito nomination.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Republicans choose horrible judges. They have now picked the last 5 Supreme Court judges and the court is still liberal. Don’t worry, one of the judges will suddenly have a change to the left. It has happened to three Republican appointments in the last 30 years. Alito will make no difference. In a similar vein, the Republicans control both Houses and they have changed to huge pro-big government spenders.