Site Meter
Fritz Feds

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sense of the Senate

Let’s take a look around the dusty upper chamber, shall we?  With the Alito cloture vote coming Monday and a full vote coming soon after that, where does the nomination stand?  For my part, I think the D’s who are threatening a filibuster are OUT OF THEIR DAMN MINDS, especially given that Mr. Smith style theatrics are no longer employed.  It’s a great way for those who oppose Alito to lose twice, and that’s about it.  John Kerry is flailing and screaming in an attempt to remain relevant (which he, let’s face it, never really was; people voted for him primarily not because they liked him, but because they thought other people would).  Ted Kennedy is apparently also set to vote against cloture.  I found this AP/WaPo article, which offers some enlightenment (my comments in brackets):

“Senior Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska also threw his support to Alito. Stevens said he closely monitored Alito's commitment during his confirmation hearings to "respect" past rulings when it comes to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark abortion rights decision.

"As I vote to confirm his nomination, I do so under the assumption that Judge Alito will uphold this commitment," said Stevens, who supports abortion rights.”

[Now, I’m not sure how Alito would rule, that’s almost the point, but Stevens apparently does.  For my part, I think Stevens is a senile old coot jumped the shark when he threatened to resign from the Senate over his bacon-bridge to nowhere. Can someone tell me why this guy has an R by his name?]

“Sen. Reid, who will vote on Monday with Democrats who want to filibuster Alito and against confirmation on Tuesday, said those votes are "an opportunity to people to express their opinion on what a bad choice it was to replace Sandra Day O'Connor."”

[This could be a misquote by the AP, given the errors, but it is kind of the D’s position here, isn’t it?  SDO’C is retiring voluntarily, probably because she wants to do more fly fishing, so essentially Reid would be saying that he doesn’t respect her judgment to replace her impeccable judgment. Or something like that, though the gist of it is right, they really do wish they could keep her, though they only adopted that position once she announced her retirement.]  

“Asked if the administration was taking Kerry's call for a filibuster seriously, White House press secretary Scott McClellan chuckled on Friday and said: "I think it was a historic day yesterday. It was the first ever call for a filibuster from the slopes of Davos, Switzerland."”

[Now, as to the full Senate vote, there are 53 Republicans and 3-4 Democrats likely figured out so far, the D’s including Robert Byrd, Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson,  and possibly Kent Conrad]

I also found this article from the San Francisco Gate, noteworthy only because I wanted to point out this statement:

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said things are different from when the Senate considered Breyer and Ginsburg, who were confirmed 87-9 and 96-3 respectively. "There was not the polarization within America that is there today, and not the defined move to take this court in a singular direction," she said.”

ME:  No polarization?  A Republican Senate overwhelmingly confirmed a Democratic President’s nominees, nominees that they could have legitimately (in numbers) voted down, but didn’t, believing that the Constitution gives the choice to the Executive.  (That probably won’t happen again.”  Now the D’s want a Republican President’s nominee brought down in a Republican Senate?  Why do you suppose things are so “polarized” Di?  Furthermore, the incoherence of the Senators who voted for Roberts but will vote against Alito is appalling, and demonstrates the self-aggrandizing urge all too common in the Senate, members of which have now decided that they are co-equal partners in the selection process.  Whatever, the thing is pretty much filibuster proof at this point, I just really think it’s mean-spirited, dishonest, and ultimately foolish (in political terms long and short) to push for one and using hyperbolic and misleading statements. To think they could have made the whole thing so dignified, knowing it wasn't going to change the outcome, that this wasn't a fight they could win, but decided to play to the Cindy Sheehan crowd, since Sheehan has apparently threatened (from Venezuala) to run against DiFi if she doesn't filibuster.


Shockingly, I agree with much of what you say. But as regards Ginsburg and Breyer, those nominees were both recommended by Orrin Hatch, rendering a significant difference from the Alito nomination. Granted, Reid had some input and chose to waste it by suggesting Harriet Miers, but by cutting Democrats out of the process at that point, Bush opened himself up to this kind of Senate opposition.
No surprise here, I am generally a fan of Orrin Hatch (he is, after all, one of the honorary heads of the Fed-Soc, along with, guess who, Robert Bork), and I think he did a fine job during his long tenure as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. When Hatch recommended Ginsburg and Breyer, he did so knowing that both were liberal, but that they were also respectable and well-qualified. Fast forward to today, when, as I mentioned, the situation is very different, given that the Senate and Presidency are controlled by the same party. The opposition is given a chance to weigh in, and nominates someone of fairly unknown convictions, with no judicial experience, and who ultimately was a weak nominee, and that's the difference. Hatch used his influence to recommend strong, respectable, experienced, and yes, liberal candidates. Reid tried to pick an unknown who probably wouldn't exert a great deal of influence on the Court, but who would appeal to President Bush. It almost worked out for him. I see no reason, however, that he should have been given a second chance, and yes, I am saying that he acted in bad faith, and that if Ginsburg and Breyer were acceptable to Senate (majority) Republicans in the 90's, Alito should be at least as acceptable to Senate (minority) Democrats in the ought's.
Post a Comment