Skip to comments.Democrats Powerless Against Alito (If they filibuster now, they'll never filibuster again.)
Posted on 01/12/2006 11:57:54 PM PST by nickcarraway
For all their badgering over mutual funds and alumni organizations, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee scarcely laid a glove on Samuel Alito this week. Yesterday Ryan Lizza at the New Republic laid out (subscription required) the thin gruel that Democrats have to work with if they hope to mount a filibuster. (They almost certainly won't do so -- but more on that in a minute.) Lizza notes that Alito easily explained every decision of his that Democrats' questioned, and writes that "Alito and his defenders on the Committee....defanged the major ethics issue -- the accusation that, as a judge, Alito should have recused himself from a case involving Vanguard, a company in which he had investments -- by simply pointing to the numerous legal ethicists who have declared the charge bunk."
There are three lines of attack that Lizza takes seriously. First is Alito's unwillingness to commit himself one way or another on Roe v. Wade. This is also known as "judicial ethics": A judge is not supposed to pronounce on something that he is likely to have to rule on before hearing the arguments that come before his court. While there has been some debate over whether or not this standard is too rigid, the fact remains that it is the standard under the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges.
Second is the notion that Alito's answers to questions about the Concerned Alumni of Princeton made him "seem untruthful." This is almost too silly to merit a response. "I'm not inclined to believe you, therefore you aren't credible" isn't a very good argument either logically or politically.
Third is Alito's history of defending the unitary executive theory, that radical notion that when the Constitution says that "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America," it means that the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. It's somewhat amusing that "unitarian" notions suddenly trouble liberals so much; the most well-known unitarian argument, after all, was Antonin Scalia's dissent from 1988's Morrison v. Olson, which upheld the independent counsel statute. Scalia worried about the power given to special prosecutors not answerable to the president, and one could have sworn that the same people frightened over unitarianism now are those who spent years railing against Ken Starr's unchecked authority.
Of course, many of these critics don't really understand what they're talking about; they confuse an argument about the structural nature of the executive with arguments about the scope of executive power. That's why Lizza writes that the unitary executive issue
might be attractive grounds on which to try to stop [Alito's] nomination. After all, Democrats note, the argument has the advantage of dovetailing with their current critique of Bush as an unchecked, out-of-control president, as well as their case against the "corrupt" GOP congressional leadership that acts as a rubber stamp for Bush policies. Under this scenario, stopping Alito could turn into a proxy war for stopping Bush. Which is one reason that a filibuster, though not a likely scenario, might still tempt Democrats.
I certainly hope that it does tempt them. Why? Because Alito's stellar performance would make it easy to trigger the so-called "nuclear option," under which a simple majority vote to change Senate rules ends judicial filibustering for good. While things may change between now and November, most observers are now betting on marginal gains in the Senate for Democrats, and a two-seat loss for Republicans would increase the power of GOP liberals, making it much harder to pull the nuclear trigger and decreasing the likelihood of winning a judicial showdown for at least the remainder of the Bush presidency.
This would be the perfect time, from Republicans' perspective, to have a filibuster showdown. And that is why Democrats will avoid that showdown. They will attempt to delay confirmation through wranglings over the debate schedule, and try to appease their friends at NARAL and People for the American Way with lots of bluster. But they won't stop Samuel Alito from joining the Supreme Court.
John Tabin is a frequent online contributor to The American Spectator and AmSpecBlog.
Don't wait for a democrat filibuster, change the rules now!
On Senate rules, remember, if the numbers were reversed and the RATS in the majority the rules would have chamged/altered as they saw fit and you'd never have heard a peep from the MSM. Bet on it.
They are insane with loss and bitterness over the fact that they are out of power. I am not buying that they'll make any gains in Congress in 06. If anything, it will be the status quo.
Other than massive voter fraud, I don't see them gaining anywhere.
Still...they will never give up.
And neither will we.
You are counting unhatched chickens. It is clear that Frist does not have the votes to force the nuclear option. If he did it would have been done long ago. I have no faith that McCains gang of 14, the coalition of DINOs and RINOs, will abide by the filibuster agreement.
2002 and 2004 showed the rats that obstruction is a terrible election strategy. Many rats know that they will lose seats next Nov because of the fallout when Alito is forced to withdraw his name. However, they are between a rock and a hard place. The rats cant let Alito be confirmed as it would cost them millions of rat votes. So they will filibuster, collect big money from their donor base, energize the Republican base, and lose twice as many moderate votes in Nov.
I doubt Alito will be confirmed because the NYT and WP are both saying Alito will almost certainly be confirmed.
"I don't see them gaining anywhere."
Nor do I. The narcissistic MSM thinks that all this Bush Lied, Bush Spied crap is playing in Peoria, I don't think it is. Do we want Bush to spy on terrorists here in the US? Speaking from the great state of New Jersey, the home away from home for Islamofacists, I say HELL YEAH!
I'm hoping that the pubbies are seeing that playing a little hard ball works.
I think the MSM is so enthralled with themselves they have NO CLUE as to what most people think. It's been this way since at least 1994, if not much longer. In fact, these musings inspire a new tag line:
Let's remember that the Roe -v- Wade anniversary (the 32nd) is coming up on January 22nd. The Demos know this, which is why I believe they pushed so hard to delay hearings until January. The current Senate vote is scheduled for the 20th, so the Demos only need to delay the process a couple days to maximize their frenzy and whip their fanatical base up.
We should be prepared for an all-out phone & letter blitz to key Senators. My prediction is 51 votes to end judicial filibuster, with Cheney casting the deciding vote. Alito will serve ... but the MSM, the far left, and all those Demos will be kicking and screaming before it happens.
David Brooks nailed it in the Slimes with his smackdown line pointed at Kennedy, "Rich liberals have been calling white ethnics bigots for 40 years. "
(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")
The so-called "RINOs" (I call the principaled statesmen) are already on record as supporting Judge Alito and Red State Democrats (such as Nelson and Landrieu) know that a vote against the more-than-qualified jurist would end their political careers. So, this time next week, we should be all saying Justice Alito rather than Judge Alito.
Bingo on your new tagline..LOL! Good one. You are exactly right. When the GOP plays hardball, the libnuts crawl back into their trenches with tails hanging low.
They can't win. They have no leader, no positive message, don't know where they stand on issues, they have no majority anywhere, they are now losing the SCOTUS stranglehold they held for decades, they can't win elections, they don't own the votes of the majority and they can't win with nothing. They are using their old 1960s neoMarxist playbook and you are right, Peoria isn'nt buying it. They are hopelessly lost. Besides that, they are unfit to govern.
"David Brooks nailed it in the Slimes with his smackdown line pointed at Kennedy, "Rich liberals have been calling white ethnics bigots for 40 years. "
AHA! That must have been the Brooks article one of the guys I talk politics with at work was talking about. This fits right into our conversation. Of course I (unwittingly) took Brooks' position and my co-worker (wittingly or unwittingly, yet still stupidly) was taking Kennedy's.
Brooks put that very, very well, thanks for posting that quote!
"Besides that, they are unfit to govern."
Indeed they are. Since they seem to hate this country, love our enemies, and think our military are "nazis".
Thanks for the compliments on the tagline, let me return same for a great and true screen name!
Dead men talking. That's all they are. Blowing hot air and threatening this and that and the other. Until no one hears them anymore. They're at that point now. They just don't realize it, yet.
"Indeed they are. Since they seem to hate this country, love our enemies, and think our military are "nazis".
Thanks for the compliments on the tagline, let me return same for a great and true screen name! "
Right on Jocon! I keep wondering why the libnuts want to go down a road to smear our troops, our great country and all that we stand for. Nothing they do makes any sense.
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