Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
It was not an impressive showing by the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee this past week, especially our senior senator, Ted Kennedy. I do agree that Alito will play a major role in slowly reversing some, if not many, of the individual rights and liberties defined by Supreme Court decisions of the past three decades. Frankly, the man’s philosophy scares me.
I can understand all of the Senators’ frustration at Alito’s stonewalling and memory lapses but at times they sounded like criminal defense attorneys grilling a prosecutor’s expert witness. I do not think that is what the Advise and Consent process should look like. While Alito came across as a stuffy but polite scholar, Kennedy came off as a rude bully. The White House outmaneuvered the Democratic Judiciary Staff.
Prior to the beginning of this week’s hearing, the Democrats should have known how many more votes they needed to stop Alito’s confirmation. Therefore, their choices were 1) try to persuade some of the potential Republican swing votes, if any could be identified; 2) use the televised hearing to take your case to the uncommitted voters to try to influence the 2006 Congressional election in your favor; 3) filibuster.
I do not think the Democrats achieved #1 or #2 and at this point I do not believe they can develop the right strategy to successfully carry out #3. I am not optimistic.
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