Judicial Nominations

‘Senate to Vote on Alito Today’

Under that headline is a front page story in the Washington Post today about the nomination of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court. Yesterday, the Senate beat back a (frankly) wimpy and last-minute effort by erstwhile Presidential candidate Sen. Kerry (D-MA) to force a filibuster on Judge Alito’s nomination. This in spite of knowing that he lacked the votes to do so. He was, in essence, trying to take his ball and go home. He failed. The cloture vote wasn’t even close, with a final vote of 72-25. Ouch. Here’s a link to see how your Senators voted. His nomination now goes to the floor where hopefully there will be no further mischief, only a vote.

Some interesting statistics for you to ponder:

The average time from the President’s nomination until confirmation for the last few Justices was 68 days. For Judge Alito — if he’s confirmed today — it is 92 days.

The time from the President’s announcement of the nomination to the start of the hearings in Justice Rehnquist case was 13 days. For Ruth Bader Ginsburg it was 26 days, for John Roberts 55 days and for Judge Alito, 70 days.

No nominee was “held over” in Committee since 1971. Judge Alito was held over for a week, a simple delaying tactic.

This man has been subjected to grueling questioning and bitter partisan barbs. Republicans confirmed the former General Counsel of the ACLU, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, without a fight, because it was seen as the President’s prerogative. Ah, the days of yore.

Hundreds of you have weighed in through this blog to urge your Senators to vote, with a bunch doing so in the last week. We are down to the short strokes. Please tell your Senators to get on with it. Legal reform begins at the top.

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The Week Ahead: Alito Nomination Inches Toward a Final Vote

This is going to be a very busy week, lots going on. First and foremost, the Alito nomination — longer in gestation because of blatant partisanship run amok than just about any other Supreme Court nomination in recent years — will be on the floor of the Senate. Even though he has far more than the 51 out of of the 100 Senate votes he needs to get confirmed, expect mischief.

A few points: First, America really doesn’t understand why 50% + 1 vote doesn’t get you a victory. Probably not a good idea for the Senate to be calling attention to this little rule of theirs. See, to break a filibuster or to invoke cloture, meaning to force something to a vote — you need 60 votes. That’s why a minority of 40 — of either party — can frustrate the will of the majority. Do you have this rule where you work?

Didn’t think so.

Second, it’s clear among the few Democrats who who are pushing the idea of a filibuster and who also appear to be running for President in 2008 (this is probably coincidental) the the idea is dead on arrival and will be summarily unsuccessful. But no matter. Here’s this from a San Jose Merc article on this whole imbroglio:

The threat of a filibuster emerged late last week after liberal activists accused Democratic senators of failing to vigorously oppose Alito’s ascension to the Supreme Court. After Sen. Kerry began the effort, several liberal groups mounted a campaign by Internet, telephone and fax to persuade other senators to follow suit.”

Welcome to democracy. Judge Alito is going to be confirmed. We will as a result have more certainty on the bench. That will give us less litigation at some point, a trend we desperately need to begin. Legal reform, an issue on the top of the minds of every manfaucturer, begins at the top.

Drop your Senators a note and tell them to confirm Judge Altio.

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Two More Senators Heed the Constitution

Two more Democrat Senators — Robert Byrd (WV) and Tim Johnson (SD) have announced their support for Judge Alito. Funny — in this Washington Post story, you have to go all the way to the 9th paragraph to find that stunning news. The headline is about how a few Democrats still foolishly — and dangerously — hold out hope of a filibuster.

It’s pretty simple. The Senate’s job is to provide advice and consent, not obstruction. They asked this man over 600 questions over some 18 hours of questioning. The number of Americans who support Judge Alito increased during the hearings. Some of the Senators embarrassed themselves and were seen as being too mean-spirited.

Kudos to Sens. Byrd and Johnson for heeding the Constitution ad understanding their role. As for the rest, we provide this helpful link.

Please write to your two Senators and urge them to support the good Judge, get this thing done. We sent our Key Vote Card up there today, letting every Senator know that the vote on Judge Alito will be considered a Key Manufacturing Vote. Legal reform begins at the top.

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Judge Alito: One Step Closer

Judge Alito was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 10 – 8 party line vote, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against. It goes to the Senate floor starting today, with a vote expected maybe this weekend. As of today, it has been 86 days since Judge Alito was nominated. Chief Justice Roberts was confirmed 71 days after his nomination, and that one hardly moved at a rocket’s pace. By comparison, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s confirmation only took 41 days.

You know the drill: If you’ve not already done so, please drop a note to your Senators, urging them to support Judge Alito and urging them in any case to move it to a swift up-or-down vote. Remember, legal reform begins at the top.

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Senate Judiciary Committee To Vote on Alito Nomination

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the nomination of Judge Alito to the US Supreme Court. Here’s a link to the full Judiciary Committee. Please phone, fax, or e-mail them and urge them to support his nomination.

Beginning tomorrow, his nomination should go to the floor of the Senate and debate will begin. For most of the past hundred Justices or so, debate is brief and more of a pro-forma exercise. Please click here to urge your Senators to have a quick up-or-down vote on Judge Alito. Even if they don’t support him, they ought to vote their conscience and move on. Delay is a way to postpone the inevitable, and is unfair to Judge Alito and the Constitutional process (anybody remember the Constitution….?) In fact, the latest poll shows that support for Judge Alito actually increased after his hearings, and his supporters now outnumber is opponents by almost 2-to-1.

This is the home stretch. If you care about legal reform, it begins at the top.

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The Checks and Balances Fig Leaf

OK, here’s a quiz: How many Democrat Senators can hide behind one fig leaf? the answer is at least three — in one day, that is. Thursday, the big shockeroo (not) was that Sen. Leahy (D-VT), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced his opposition to Judge Alito’s nomination. Word was back when that he was ready to oppose John Roberts, too, but once Minority Leader Reid (D-NV) beat him to the punch and opposed Roberts — thereby breaking with Senate decorum, by not deferring to the relevant Committee chair — he changed his mind. Well, Sen. Reid played by the rules this time and so Leahy opposed Alito. it’s important to note that he did so before a crowd of folks at Georgetown University Law School. Jeez, almost sounds like theater, doesn’t it? In any event, the reason he cited was his concern over checks and balances, specifically that Judge Alito wouldn’t be enough of a check on Presidential power. Right.

As it turns out, this was the same theme sounded by Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) and later today by Sen. Salazar (D-CO), who said he’d be open-minded but apparently became way too anxious about this whole checks and balances thing to support Judge Alito. Starting to sound like the party line, no?

So after the endless questioning about ethics, the Concerned Alumni of Princeton and yes, abortion, they decide they just can’t support him because of checks and balances? Don’t get us wrong — this is a big issue, but it’s one that really hasn’t resonated until now. Must’ve come up in somebody’s polling. What’s next, riparian rights?

At the moment, it seems like an intellectual fig leaf for them all to hide behind so they can check the box marked “opposition” and curry favor with their far-left constituents. Truth is, Judge Alito is an accomplished jurist and one who will make an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.

We hope you’ll drop a note to your Senators, urge them to support him, and urge them to get this thing to a quick up-or-down vote.

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Sen. Ben Nelson, Statesman

Kudos to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) for resisting the blatant partisanship that has gripped this city and especially the bad theater that is the Alito nomination battle. Looks like Judge Alito will be confirmed with bipartisan support, as Sen. Nelson has announced that he will be voting for Judge Alito.

Hmmmm… Seems like Sen. Nelson is the only one in his party who read and understood Hamilton and Federalist 78 when he talked about the Senate’s role in such matters. It’s advice and consent, period. As even the Washington Post has argued, the President ought to be afforded wide latitude in his appointments. It’s what elections are about, after all. Some would choose to keep fighting the elections long after they are settled, as here. Fact is, Judge Alito is supremely qualified for this job and deserves the support of the US Senate.

Bravo to Ben Nelson for understating his Constitutional role. Let’s hope others in his party will follow suit. If you’re from Nebraska, please drop him a note to thank him for his leadership and for being that rarest of endangered species here in Washington, a true statesman.

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Democrats Force Delay On Alito Vote

That’s the word from this Washington Post story, which will be played out in every other newspaper today, the news from the Senate this week. In other words, the Senate can’t get its work done. In the face of all-but certain confirmation, the Democrats in the Senate have decided to stall. This first of all violates a gentleman’s agreement made Senator Leahy (D-VT), ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, to Committee Chair Specter (R-PA) to mvoe this to a swift Committee vote. It’s the Senate equivalent of taking your ball and going home — for a week — because you’re about to lose the game.

We’ve said it here in this space many, many times — and the Post editorial page agrees: Judge Alito is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. It is the President’s prerogative to appoint the men and women he feels are most qualified and for the Senate to provide advice and consent, not obstruction.

We know most blog readers support Judge Alito. From this space, you have logged in hundreds of e-mails to the Senate urging his confirmation. But for those who do not, isn’t it at least fair to let the man have an up-or-down vote, tally the votes at day’s end and move on?

As we saw in Senator Hatch and Grassley’s comments last week — men with decades of experience at this confirmation game — the level of discourse just keeps sinking. The Democrats aren’t helping when someone as qualified as Judge Alito is forced to wait. Poll s show overwhelming support for his confirmation. The Democrats ought be careful not to overplay their hand here bending over backwards to curry favor with their far-left constituencies.

Please drop your Senators a note to tell them you’re watching and you want them to get on with their Constitutional duties and put the Alito nomination to a swift up-or-down vote.

Legal reform begins at the top.

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‘Confirm Samuel Alito’

Under the above title was the lead editorial in yesterday’s Washington Post — no bastion of conservatism. But the Post –as regular blog readers know — has been pretty consistent on these Supreme Court nominees, lamenting the ugly state of political play and reminding readers that this is, in their words, “Not a Campaign.” They even went so far as to scold Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for not giving more deference to the President’s nominees.

Says the Post editorial in part:

“…Judge Alito is superbly qualified. His record on the bench is that of a thoughtful conservative, not a raging ideologue. He pays careful attention to the record and doesn’t reach for the political outcomes he desires. His colleagues of all stripes speak highly of him. His integrity, notwithstanding efforts to smear him, remains unimpeached…Judge Alito will favor a judiciary that exercises restraint and does not substitute its judgment for that of the political branches in areas of their competence.”

Here’s a link to the full editorial. It’s well done. And don’t forget to contact your Senators and urge them to vote for Judge Alito and to move his nomination to a swift up-or-down vote. Legal reform begins at the top.

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Alito: Were Those Really Questions….?

OK, so the latest estimate is that Judge Alito took some 677 questions from Senators during about 18 hours of hearings. However, according to an ABC News report, Sen. Biden (D-DE) spoke for 24 minutes on Tuesday, leaving only 6 for Judge Alito. On Wednesday he spoke for about 13 minutes, as compared to 6 for Alito and on Thursday went for about 13 and a half minutes, with Alito spending about half that amount on answers.

Sen. Schumer (D-NY) took almost 23 minutes for himself on Tuesday, leaving only about 7 minutes for the good judge. On Wednesday, he talked for over 15 minutes, leaving only about 5 for Alito and finally on Thursday, bloviated for almost 20 minutes, leaving 10 minutes for Judge Alito.

Doesn’t really sound like an attempt to get at the truth or the facts, does it? Sounds more like a lot of hot air, a lot of speechifying by folks not that interested in the Judge’s views after all.

Click here to write to your Senators and tell them to support Judge Alito and to put his nomination to a quick up-or-down vote.

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