Friday, January 13, 2006

Did You Ride the (emotional) Rollercoaster Too?

I’ve gone from annoyed to angry.

Angry to enraged.

Enraged to incensed.

And now, incensed to depressed.

All this in just two days too! That’s got to be some kind of record for me.

So what caused this rapid downward spiral?

The Alito Hearings.

I think I’m going to have to agree with Senator Biden when he says that these Supreme Court Nomination Hearings are a waste of time. And, of course, Biden should know because he used his allotted time for questioning to engage in some of the most shameless grandstanding and self-promotion I’ve ever seen. I swear that one of his so-called questions took nine minutes and fifty-five seconds of his allotted ten minutes and then it required only a simple yes or no response from Alito. (Okay, I’m exaggerating but not by much)

Then there was Alito himself going through this now familiar bobbing and weaving routine to avoid giving even a single answer of substance. We have become accustomed to this routine where nominees are coached and schooled on how to avoid answering questions no matter how hard the Senators press for a substantive answer. In addition, this is AFTER they have been chosen because they either do not have a paper trail which would give some clue as to where they actually stand philosophically on some issues, or, a paper trail that could be explained away as being the lawyer’s advocacy for one client or another. In Alito’s case, some of the advocacy was for his client, the Reagan Administration so the right-wing views expressed in his writings were casually written off .

Even Alito’s record as an Appellate Judge was obfuscated to create an aura of doubt about where he really stands even though some of the issues addressed showed that Alito’s opinions were far removed from mainstream legal thought and, in my opinion, far to the right of most conservative thought.

Alito tripped over himself a few times with the old, familiar dodge, “I can’t discuss (insert issue here) because there may be a case concerning (insert issue here) coming before me as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.” That’s been a classic tool of nominees to keep from addressing issues for a long time, but although Alito used this tool frequently, he went ahead and talked at some length about the death penalty while, in fact, there are no less than four (4) cases concerning the death penalty pending before the court now. (Thanks to Reddhead from firedoglake.) So Alito contradicted himself once again.

But alas….. nobody cared.
There were brief moments of hope in the hearings.

Feingold seemed to be onto something in noting that Alito’s “Moot Court”, the forum used to prepare him for the hearings, may have included Senator Lindsay Graham. (The Washington Post had reported it and it was picked up by the blog: The Daily Kos) This would have been a clear violation of the Senate Ethics rules. But apparently that didn’t pan out.

Kennedy thought there was information in papers from the old Princeton elitist group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) that would tie him (Alito) to the sexist, racist policies of the CAP. But apparently there was nothing there except the obvious fact that Alito had used the group to build up his “street cred” (cool. I get to use a “ganstra rap term.) with the Reagan Administration.

But in the end it was all useless.

The bottom line at the end of the hearings was exactly what it was at the beginning. The Republicans have the votes to put a far, far; far rightwing ideologue on the court and the Democrats in the Senate won’t filibuster. This guy will change the balance of ideals on the court to decades to come. My son’s children (and he isn’t even remotely close to having any yet.) will suffer through the convoluted ramblings of this Supreme Court Justice long after I’m gone.

And that’s depressing.

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