Monday, January 16, 2006
Ivan over at Joint Strike Weasel thinks I’ve been, shall we say, uncharitable in my assessment of the Democratic Senators during the confirmation hearings, accusing them of being idiots and liars. He apparently “hoped that, at least in the law school, we might be able to take a step beyond that kind of rhetoric.” And thinks that I have sunk to “insulting and degrading comments to score cheap political points.” Well, I don’t think that anything I said was particularly insulting or degrading, since most of the time I used direct quotes from the hearings. On the other hand, I think he expects too much of me, in the maturity category at least. Now, as to the idiots and liars charge, the only Senator I accused of lying was Cornyn, and on at least one occasion I pointed out that the Democratic Senators aren’t really idiots (though jmag will disagree with me here), just so desperate to try anything to block this well qualified nominee that it was, well, embarrassing. An exchange that I failed to post on earlier (ht Daniel Drezner):
FEINSTEIN: So if I understand this, you essentially said that you wanted to follow precedent, newly established law in this area. And you left a little hedge that if Congress made findings in that law, then that might be a different situation.
If Congress did make findings, would you have agreed that that statute would been constitutional?
ALITO: What I said in the opinion and what I will reiterate this afternoon is that it would have been a very different case for me. I don't think I can express an opinion on how I would have decided a hypothetical case.
FEINSTEIN: It's not hypothetical. I'm just asking you, if there were findings as you said, you might have sustained the law.
ALITO: And I reiterate that...
FEINSTEIN: And I'm just asking you would you have sustained the law...
ALITO: I don't think that I can give you a definitive answer to the question because that involves a case that's different from the case that came before me.
Come on, they make it so easy. You knew that she was going to be off from the first five words. “So if I understand this” was a dead give-away that she wouldn’t. Now, it just isn’t my fault that they made fools of themselves. Apparently T.A. Frank, at TNR Online (ht Prof. Adler at Bench Memos), thinks that eliminating camera’s (reg req’d) from the hearings would fix this. Somehow I doubt it actually would stop the foolishness, maybe just the obvious preening. It would, however, allow enterprising NYT reporters to fix things, so the public got the “fake but accurate” view of things. Wait, that’s why we have C-Span
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