Skip to comments.William F. Buckley: Detoxing Alito
Posted on 01/14/2006 7:17:59 AM PST by RWR8189
Those who hold hands with the future at night and relay their divinations tell us that Judge Alito will be OK'd by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a party vote. Some reach even further and predict that he will be confirmed by a party vote, but that there might be a little maneuvering on the floor in the matter of a filibuster.
One is told not to expect a filibuster because it is a weapon of last resort, and weapons of last resort should be kept for last-resort use. Several times, in the recent past, the question has been raised whether to tackle the perception of a filibuster as a parliamentary device invented by Mr. Smith when he went to Washington to throw himself athwart corruption.
There is a soft place in conservative hearts for the filibuster, because it can be viewed as a means to arrest an arrant majority from carrying out its designs on an oppressible minority. When last fall it was proposed that the filibuster be faced head-on, a working arrangement was made. Democrats in the Senate promised that the filibuster would not be used except in grave matters. This was a way to communicate that presidential nominations would not be paralyzed by filibuster threats. To break a filibuster requires a vote of 60. But to abolish the filibuster requires a vote of only 51. And the Republicans command a majority of 55.
What is likely to happen next week is a great deal of oratory expressing the dissatisfaction of Democratic senators with the nomination of Samuel Alito. This will involve the deployment of a great deal of hot air. The questioning of Judge Alito was so comprehensive, it is inconceivable that persistent detractors will find much to ventilate in any contest confined to the merits of the case. And the same is true of other witnesses questioned about Alito. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, for instance, spoke about Alito's record on civil rights cases. Kirsanow testified that more than 90 percent of Alito's opinions in such cases were concurred in by his Democratic colleagues on the 3rd Circuit Court.
Listening to Kirsanow, and to judges who have served with Alito, observers had, most of them, the feeling that there really wasn't very much left to keep apprehensions about Alito alive, other than that he was created by an unpopular president. But senators can't give that as the reason for opposing Alito. It simply doesn't sound quite right to say, "I will vote against the nominee because President Bush named him." A senator prepared to say that should be prepared to call for an amendment to the Constitution denying the president the right to nominate judges.
There are questions of constitutional importance that overhang the deliberations of the judiciary committee. Mr. Alito wasn't able to pronounce where, exactly, he believed the authority of the executive ends. Many references were made to the Youngstown decision, which, in 1952, told President Truman that he did not have the authority to take over the steel mills. Judge Alito declined to say whether the authority claimed by President Bush to conduct surveillance met the standards laid down by Justice Robert Jackson in that case.
Efforts to pin Alito down on abortion were futile, and (in the judgment of some) morally intrusive. What Alito said was that the Roe decision of the court, acknowledging a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy, had been substantially reaffirmed in later decisions, which tended to solidify its standing. However, there was still litigation challenging it, and therefore, as a potential justice of the Supreme Court, he would not give advisory judgments.
An extraordinary amount of time was given to Alito's not having recused himself from a case in which Vanguard was involved, Vanguard being the mutual-fund company that manages Mr. Alito's money. On this matter, Judge Edward Becker of the 3rd Circuit Court spoke acidly, and introduced me to a word I hadn't heard before. Becker explained why, for his own part, he had not recused himself from cases involving Vanguard even though his wife owned shares in the company: "I do not identify Vanguard on my recusal list because I am satisfied that my wife possesses no ownership interest in the Vanguard management company, which is what controls the recusal determination. She's never received a proxy statement, an opportunity to vote for directors or any indicia of ownership other than her aliquot share in the fund to the extent of her investment." Aliquot! Aliquot interests, OK!
But even as it will be a party vote on the judiciary committee, it will very possibly be a party vote on the floor. You begin by counting what one might call the John Birch wing of the Democratic Party. These are folk who see military-industrial complex members under their beds, scheming against minorities and civil rights.
What disappoints those who like to think of themselves as celebrants of democracy is the tribal tendency to take shelter in voting with the majority. There are certainly 25 Democratic senators who, if they submitted to a polygraph test, would confess that they believed Samuel Alito qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. But they seek the protective company of their fellow Democrats, and so, while talking about the need to do one's duty, will fail to do so in respect of this nomination.
Copyright 2005 Universal Press Syndicate
This is astonishing!. There was a word in the English language that William F. Buckley didn't know?! ;o)
Kennedy used an article that was SATIRE for his accusations.
Dinesh D'Souza was the editor of Prospect at the time, and he confirms that the article, by H. W. Crocker III, now an editor for Regnery Books, was a satire:
The essay may not have been funny, D'Souza acknowledges, but Kennedy read from it as if it had been serious instead of an attempt at humor.
"I think left-wing groups have been feeding Senator Kennedy snippets and he has been mindlessly reciting them," D'Souza said. "It was a satire."
Seems appropriate....Kennedy is the biggest joke in the Senate.
I am also astounded, particularly given its Latin root, and I am even more astounded at WFB's acuity in catching this anomaly in the Judge's statement. On the other hand, I also had never heard of 'aliquot', namely several or proportional. In addition, I cannot see where and when I might amaze my colleagues with my word power by using it. I am not astounded, however, that a lawyer would use a phrase that 99.999999% of us do not understand!
It was terrible to watch Senator Schumer throw away his sharp mind in support of his radical ideologies
It was terrible to watch Senator Kennedy throw away his dull mind in support of his radical ideologies.
Thanks for providing the link to the definition of aliquot.
§ 34. arrant / errant
If youre unsure of the difference between these words, dont feel bad. Arrant was once a variant spelling of errant, which meant and still means wandering. Thus an errant (or an arrant) thief was a bandit who roved the countryside. It was not a far stretch from this use to the meaning notorious, outright, thoroughgoing, which is the meaning that arrant developed and kept. Now if you wander and rove, you can only be errant. And if you want an intensive adjective to add spice to insults, you want arrant. An arrant fool is a complete one.
Highest rating from the ABA (a very liberal lawyer's group) for this nominee.
If the Alito vote goes by party lines, the putrid political hacks in the democrat party will be revealed for what they are.
But will the American people should wake up to the reality?
Every time the rage of the likes of Kennedy and Shumer is neutralized, the Democrats and the MSM fail. If the media could have ginned up any opposition in public opinion to Alito, it would have fueled the Democratic resistance and brought them together to start talking about a filibuster. Whether the objection involved an unpaid parking ticket or an offhand comment 30 years ago, it's the ability to stir up liberal sentiment that makes it germane, not any particular relevance to his ability to be a fair jurist. The whole process has been a pathetic and disingenuous charade.
Ben-the American people are stupid. I don't know whether the stupidity is a result of the successful dumbing down of the American people by the education system and media, or if it just plain laziness. They sit infront of the idiot box obsessed with crap like the entertainment "industry" and sports. Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.
Teddy read the "War of the Worlds" and blamed Bush for the attack.
Actually the Democrats real reasoning for voting against Alito is because the nominee was named by a Republican president.
Well, the real reason is that they are fearful of how Alito may treat the currently sacred "constitutional rights" to abortion and perversion.
But they don't quite like to put it in those terms.
True, no Democrat president would ever nominate a candidate to the Supreme Court who couldn't be thoroughly relied on to support abortion and perversion, so to that extent it's a matter of voting against a Republican nominee.
I love to read WFB, both fiction and nonfiction. After even the smallest article I find my vocabulary expanded. I don't know if he still undertakes his cross-Atlantic sailing trips, but if so it would be the highlight of my life to have the opportunity to spend that time learning from him.
Lest we forget the word "Gravitas".
It was easy for the talking heads to pronounce.
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