Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alito Hearings

Like I said above, I sat through almost all the senators questioning of Roberts. I have to admit that I thought the experience was very illuminating, but not in the way I was expecting. After listening, I certainly felt like I had learned a lot about the state of constitutional law in many areas I don't deal with (e.g. the "effects" test of the Voting Rights Act). But I came away feeling that I had no better understanding of Roberts own view, and no sense of how he would decide in the future (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but also no idea what sort of philosophy would guide his decision-making. I know he said a lot of stuff about "precedent" and "statutory interpretation" and so on, but most of the time he was just articulating the prevailing view or one particular school of thought. Roberts rarely said what he personally held to be true.

The Alito hearings are shaping up to be more of the same. The tough questions Democrats have to ask he has deflected and will continue to do so. Of course even those tough questions will be drowned out in a sea of inane questions that some senator was convinced to ask for reasons that defy my comprehension (like yet another question about Roe, because he hasn't dodged that bullet enough). Republicans, for their part, seem deathly allergic to asking anything approaching a tough question. I hold out hope, though, that Senator Coburn will get fed up and demand Alito pledge himself to overturning Roe.

To show that I too can engage in inanities, has anyone else found Alito's posture at the witness table....odd? Roberts (and most Senate and House witnesses I've seen) struck a very sincere and engaged, leaning on the table in front of him like whatever a senator was saying was the most thrilling and mind-blowing thing since the Sermon on the Mount. Alito is a distinct contrast in what I've seen so far. It looked to me like he was almost leaning back in his chair (although probably he was just sitting up straight). This kind of gave him a sort of laid-back and aloof look which could be good or bad. To some they'll see that as evidence the man has complete command of what's going on before him. To others, they'll see it as cockiness and arrogance. I just found it visually striking. Maybe it's a New Jersey thing.

One final note about Feingold and the Supreme Court nominee hearings. Many on the left will try to make hay out of his vote to confirm Roberts. Now, I still have no idea what kind of justice Roberts will be, but I completely agreed with his vote. Roberts delivered a tour de force of legal intellect. I'm no idiot, but listening to him made me want to call everyone one of my clients and apologize that they didn't have a guy like Roberts representing them. Since nothing incriminating (politically, ethically or otherwise) came out, voting to confirm Roberts was the only logical vote. Voting against him made little sense, and could (and was) easily cast as partisan bitterness. Feingold's vote was good on principal and was good politics. Sure die-hard lefties (of which I am probably one) will cry about it, but he's been "right" on so many other issues, especially on issues where other potential 2008 candidates have been "wrong," that I hope we can move past this one.


Blogger Schwompa said...

Good to see another feingold for president blog.

Matt G, Tennesseans for Feingold

9:16 AM  
Blogger J. Clifford said...

I wanted to let you know about a pro-Feingold resource we've created at, that perhaps some of your supporters might want to participate in. It's a wiki Feingold campaign site, meaning that it's open to be edited by all visitors, to include information, links, pictures, or anything else you could imagine a Feingold campaign would need - using standard wiki technology. You can find it at:

I've started out the work on the site, but thought that maybe the people here would have some ideas for its completion.

As you'll see, there's a link to your Pacific Northwest for Feingold blog already there, among other good pro-Feingold links. Do you have any ideas for other links or content?

7:35 AM  

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