Skip to comments.The Nation: Senators Sould Press Alito on Bush v. Gore (Kookfest)
Posted on 01/09/2006 4:18:38 PM PST by new yorker 77
The Nation -- When the Senate Judiciary Committee begins questioning Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito this week, Americans will again be reminded of the limitations of the confirmation process for presidential picks to serve on the federal bench.
Alito will lie to the committee, intentionally and repeatedly.
In keeping with the standard set by all recent high court nominees, he will treat the hearings, and by extension the American people, who the confirmation process is intended to serve, with utter and complete contempt.
Alito will be asked direct questions and he will claim that he cannot answer them for two reasons.
First, in order to avoid broad questions about his legal philosophy, he will claim that he is not able to comment on cases that might come before the court. This is a deliberate dodge, designed not to protect Alito's ability to judge impartially but to avoid revealing whether his ideas are within the mainstream of constitutional interpretation and judicial responsibility.
Second, despite the fact that his proponents would have the Senate and the American people believe that he is a brilliant man with broad executive branch and judicial experience, Alito will claim that he has not seriously considered fundamental questions of law, politics and public policy. This, too, is a deliberate dodge, designed to prevent an examination of how he approaches issues.
If the recent past offers any indication, Alito's refusal to cooperate with the committee will be extensive. When Chief Justice John Roberts faced the committee during his confirmation hearings last fall, he refused to answer more than 60 questions in a single day.
As members of the Judiciary Committee approach what should be their most solemn duty--since they are being called upon to accept or reject a nominee who could serve on the high court long after they have left politics--senators of both parties should be looking for a way to crack the facade of deceit and disrespect that Alito will erect.
Here's one suggestion for how to do that:
Ask the nominee how he would have ruled in the case of Bush v. Gore. Does he agree that the court was right to intervene, for the first time in history, to stop the counting of the ballots that could have determined the result of a presidential contest? Or does he believe, as University of Virginia professor and Supreme Court scholar A.E. Howard has suggested, "Prudence would call for letting the political process run its course"?
Does Alito believe it is possible to reconcile the high court's intervention in an electotal battle with a strict constructionist reading of the Constitution that says Congress, not the court, is charged with settling disputed contests at the federal level?
Does he believe that Justices Antonin Scalia, whose sons were associated with firms that represented George W. Bush's campaign, and Clarence Thomas, whose wife was working with Bush's transition team, should have recused themselves from the deliberations? Does he worry that the decision to intervene in the case might have damaged the court's reputation as an independent body that stands apart from the partisan politics associated with the executive branch?
Of course, Alito will try to avoid such questions, just as Roberts did when Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin, made a tepid attempt to raise the issue last year. But Alito has no excuse for refusing to answer.
The case of Bush v. Gore will never come before the court again. And the court itself has ruled that the decision should not be interpreted as setting a precedent. Thus, it is one of the few court decisions that is entirely, and appropriately, open to discussion by a nominee.
And what if Alito claims he hasn't taken the time to consider the case or its issues?
Considering the fact that the case involved the question of who would be the most powerful person on the planet, if Alito claims he wasn't paying attention, there really would not be any question that he is too disengaged to be confirmed to so substantial a position.
John Nichols is the author of Jews For Buchanan (The New Press), an examination of the 2000 recount debacle in Florida and the Supreme Court intervention that settled the dispute for George W. Bush. Jews for Buchanan can be found at indpendent bookstores nationwide and at www.amazon.com
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They've never gotten over it. And it's driven them around the bend thinking about what might have been.
The Left is absolutely obsessed with hatred from 2000.
Has any SCOTUS nominee ever been accused of lying even before he has had a chance to speaK?
I wish they would, I'd love to hear Alito say: Florida Dem's pet judges broke the law when they approved selective recounts. What should have happened is that Harris should have ARRESTED them, rather than defer the issue to the SC.
All the Supreme Court did was FORCE the Florida supreme court to FOLLOW THIER OWN LAW REGARDING RECOUNTS!!!! And since it was a 7-0 decision, what in the world does this question have to do with Alito? Or the price of milk at Wal-mart, for that matter.....
Heh...not to mention they only wanted the recounts in heavily democratic counties.
I would advise the Senators to ask the questions they think are important. If they are not satisfied with the response, their recourse is to vote against confirming the nominee.
Very simple process..
Agreed. If Gore had just acted like a MAN, and conceded the election to Bush without trying to use the court system for an end run to bypass the will of the people and get what he wanted (well, that's worked for them so many times before, right?;) , the last five years would have gone much more smoothly!
They are insane. Let them rot in their cesspool.
This fool is claiming that Justices should prejudice themselves before they sit down to decide a case. If that's the kind of Justices he wants -- public bigots -- thank God his side hasn't won any presidential elections in recent memory.
An obvious and bare faced slander of a good and honorable man, who is eminently qualified to sit on the bench of the USSC. The democrats are desperate and realize they have nothing more to offer but obstruction, so they're doing their level best to invent something, anything, to embarrass Bush and subvert the will of the American people. The Democrat Party has become a cesspool of partisan corruption, but let's hope the confirmation process has not become so utterly and hopelessly corrupted thereby that this ploy is allowed to succeed.
The author of this article, John Nichols, is in distress from the 2000 elections. Would you be kind enough to tell him Bush won, and if he can't get over that, to please leave and go to France or Canada, or just leave. Also, tell him to STFU, and go away already, I'm sick of these clowns and their bullsh**. Give me a break.
I pray that the Lord make an end of the communist slandering by what once was called the free press. They deserve to go bankrupt, the sooner the better.
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