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Supreme Court Nomination Hearings

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
What a joke! Apparently the congressmen are more interested in hearing themselves speak than what Samuel Alito says. (I would try to find a link, but the internet at work is spotty at best, and it seems TCS is the only website that will come up consistently!) I'm listening to the radio and the host has been reading some news stories and editorials about the hearings. There was analysis about how much time was spent talking by the Senators and by Alito. NONE of the senators spoke LESS than 50% of the words, with many, particularly the Democrats, taking up to 61% of the words. They only have 30 minutes of time allotted to ask questions in this first round. Many of them had opening statements exceeding 10 minutes, with one speaking for 24 minutes at one time! Silly me - I thought it was supposed to be about asking the nominee questions.

I was able to watch some of the hearings yesterday at lunch. The little bits that Alito was actually able to speak, he seems well spoken, intelligent, and logical. But that was really the only conclusions I could draw about him.
post #2 of 20
I believe that it is a worthy process. Even though you are absolutely correct, that many of the Senators are grandstanding, through the answers that you do get from the nominee, you can more than glean what the nominee thinks of important issues. My main concern is that a nominee is intellectually qualified, because the cases that come before the Supreme Court, are, intellectually speaking, the most difficult, and call for the greatest legal minds to handle. Whether a nominee is conservative or liberal is secondary because each party gets their president over time to appoint nominees. Of course it affects the rulings of the Court over the long run, one way or the other, but in a 2 party system over the decades, that will even out, and out Country will certainly survive temporary moves to the left or right.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I agree that the process as it was intended is a worthy exercise. And when it is done as it was intended, a lot of very useful information can be found about a nominee and whether or not they are SCOTUS material.

I'm just saying that in this particular case, with these hearing, it is a joke so far. The Democrats on the committee have made up their minds that he's evil, and will even go so far as to lie about his record in their grandstanding to make that point. (I.e. Kennedy saying that Alito has never ruled in favor of a minority in a discrimination case, which is out and out false.) And the GOP is going to taut him as a hero, regardless of what his record says. It is more the Congressmen arguing back and forth in their statements than it is asking questions and getting answers.
post #4 of 20
The hearing wasn't broadcast here, but CNN has a synopsis of Alito's answers: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS...ers/index.html Do we really need all the partisan bickering? Apparently, Ted Kennedy (D) and Arlen Specter (R) really got into it. Although my political views tend to be rather "leftist", Specter has long been a "known quantity" to me, as he is a former Philadelphia D.A., and now a senator of my home state, so his opinions carry a little more weight, as far as I'm concerned. I am a little p.o.'d about the position he has taken on drilling for oil in Alaskan wildlife preserves, but give him a lot of credit for actually answering my emails while battling cancer, and explaining why he's in favor of such exploitation.
As far as I'm concerned, the Senate should focus on whether the nominee has a clear understanding of the Constitution, federal, and state laws, is an independent thinker, and not somebody who kowtows to a partisan agenda. In other words, I want another Sandra Day O'Connor (sp?), and not a Clarence Thomas clone.
post #5 of 20
It's getting mighty ugly.
Alito's poor wife couldn't take it and broke out in tears.
post #6 of 20
Bottom line is this guy is not the man for the job. We need someone who is in the middle, not one of Bush's far right friends.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburgess
Bottom line is this guy is not the man for the job. We need someone who is in the middle, not one of Bush's far right friends.
But that isn't the criteria for approving a Justice. The right would have argued that we didn't need someone as far left as Bader-Ginsburg when she was nominated, but she was still approved. There is no "balance of the Court" requirement for nominations.
post #8 of 20
After hearing the clip of that little spat between Kennedy and Specter, I have come away with a renewed respect for Specter.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdpesz
After hearing the clip of that little spat between Kennedy and Specter, I have come away with a renewed respect for Specter.
Me too, and now today they went through every little piece of paper from the records of that Princeton alumni group and nowhere was Alito's name even mentioned. So, Teddy, that is a bust.

I find it amazing that Teddy Kennedy has so much power and respect in the Sentate. Here is a guy that murdered a young pregnant girl and got away with it and people think he is just great because he is a Kennedy.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
At least I'm not the only one who thinks it is getting pointless: http://9news.com/acm_news.aspx?OSGNA...7-c589c01ca7bf

Although I don't agree with his reasons, and I do think the hearings could be useful if the Senators would use them for more than asking about Roe v Wade and grandstanding. Unless THAT changes, the hearings are pointless. Even the more liberal commentators have been pointing out that Alito can hardley be judged by the hearings because he isn't being given a chance to speak.
post #11 of 20
What bothes me most of all is that someone who got away with murder, has the nerve to sit in judgement of someone else. Remember Mary Jo Kopeckne???
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittenKiya
What bothes me most of all is that someone who got away with murder, has the nerve to sit in judgement of someone else. Remember Mary Jo Kopeckne???
Oh yeah, I remember well.
Apparently many others have forgotten or don't care.

I'm sure her parents and siblings still miss her very much. Justice was denied their daughter because he is a Kennedy.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
At least I'm not the only one who thinks it is getting pointless: http://9news.com/acm_news.aspx?OSGNA...7-c589c01ca7bf

Although I don't agree with his reasons, and I do think the hearings could be useful if the Senators would use them for more than asking about Roe v Wade and grandstanding. Unless THAT changes, the hearings are pointless. Even the more liberal commentators have been pointing out that Alito can hardley be judged by the hearings because he isn't being given a chance to speak.
I think some senators may be deliberately trying to make these hearings as contentious as possible in order to distract the public and the media from the Abramoff/lobbying investigation.
post #14 of 20
I was very surprised to hear that Democratic Senator Harry Ried won't be giving back or be donating the money he got from Abramoff. And he is from my home state too.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv
I was very surprised to hear that Democratic Senator Harry Ried won't be giving back or be donating the money he got from Abramoff. And he is from my home state too.
Well, Abramoff raised at least $100,000 for Bush's reelection campaign, and Bush only donated $6,000 to the American Heart Association, as that represented the amount given by Abramoff himself, his wife, and an Indian tribe. Reid got $30,500, which was at the "lower end". J.D. Hayworth of Arizona got $101,620, according to the Center for Responsible Politics. The Democrats supposedly got $1.5 million, and the Republicans $2.9 million from Abramoff, his wife, and some Indian tribes with casinos.
It looks like there'll be a number of members of Congress not running for reelection in November.
post #16 of 20
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedokitties
That's an interesting article. Personally I agree with the base premise that Republicans shouldn't logically be anti-choice, but I've always felt that. And not to go off on a tangent, but Bush certainly wasn't the first to "betray" that idea of personal freedom that used to be the premise of the GOP.

I don't personally know what to think about Alito. I like how he would probably interpret the Constitution overall, being a rather narrow view, but I don't necessarily like his view on abortion. However, I think it is very narrow minded to make any political decision based on one single issue. And the Hearings were worthless to actually find out anything about how ALITO thinks.
post #18 of 20
I don't like to think of myself as narrow-minded, but perhaps I am -considering that single issue involves government invading the private medical decisions of women, personally I would certainly reject him based on that one issue.

How would you feel if he were everything you wanted in a judge except that he didn't believe individual citizens should have the right to bear arms?
post #19 of 20
Hmm, it won't let me edit my post, but I wanted to add that if a judge took that position on the right to bear arms, I would also reject based on that single issue.

Some single issues are simply too important to me give way on. I feel that way both about the right to bear arms and about the right to medical privacy in matters of reproduction.

it is short-sighted to think that whether Roe is "wrongly decided" or "settled" is the issue, or that a nominee's stand on Roe is all that pro-choice supporters need to consider.

I do agree the hearings are pretty worthless - anyone with the qualifications to be considered for nomination to the Supreme Court is going to be experienced enough to dodge questions expertly. There's already plenty of written evidence showing his views.
post #20 of 20
Here's one thing I haven't heard anyone mention:

"Judge Alito" sounds way too much like "Judge Ito" for my comfort. I can't hear the nominee's name without thinking of that circus that passed for the OJ trial.
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