January 4, 2006

"Well qualified."

The ABA committee on the federal judiciary voted unanimously to give Samuel Alito its highest rating. Quite appropriately. I hope the hearings next week will be civil and that this clear signal from the ABA will create something of a sense of resignation about the outcome and allow the Senators to use the occasion fruitfully to debate about the legal issues that will face the Supreme Court in the coming years. Alito's opponents shouldn't think so much about defeating him. They should speak to us in a way that gives life to the alternate interpretations of constitutional law that they would like to see embodied in some future Supreme Court nominee.

63 comments:

jeff said...

Okay... who thinks that Mary's response above is a troll?

Hands please?

I'm honestly not sure, but something about it just rubs wrong.

Vizsla1086 said...

"Alito's opponents shouldn't think so much about defeating him"

I beg your pardon? Those of us who are utterly opposed to Alito's confirmation should stand quietly by and surrender because Ms. Althouse requires it? Why would you suggest such a thing? Would you obey such an admonition if someone directed it at you?

Those of us who are opposed are frightened nigh into stupified horror at the deliberate scuttling of relevant statutes by this administration. Mr. Alito's well-out-of-the-mainstream expansive view of Executive privilege (among other issues) needs to be confronted directly, at least in my view.

OddD said...

Can a troll be sincere? And can one be both sincere and sarcastic? Mary clearly is being sarcastic about liking what she sees, but she's completely sincere about seeing an anti-woman argument.

I do love the notion of picking words at random out of someone's prose to indicate their support for an unrelated topic. It's sublimely insane.

For example:

"response"
"troll"
"hands"
"rub"

I like your theme: Trolls are sexy-hot.

OddD said...

"Those of us who are opposed are frightened nigh into stupified horror..."

Would do well to take deep breaths and calm down, and realize that their fervent devotion to civil rights would be a lot more convincing if they worked as diligently toward the same ends when their party was in power.

("iuqpjm" -- that's some sort of coded slam against you-know-who, isn't it!)

Palladian said...

Will we be spared all the vomit-inducing crap about Alito's "heart" and Alito "the man"? The only heart talk I'd accept is a health report from a cardiologist. Will Ted Kennedy have a petit mal seizure like he did during Roberts' hearings? Remember how weird and angry and incoherent he seemed? Will Feinstein grace us with another Eastern European travelogue? Now that Katrina's faded a bit from the political radar, what tragedy will the Senators drag into the hearings to make political points at Alito (I'm guessing the mine disaster in W VA)? Which Senator(s) will cry?

I can't wait for the simulblogging and podcasts about these hearings!

jeff: The comment is supposed to rub you wrong (that's the new definition of "liberal" in some circles). Mary's just part of the liberal "conscience" here, contracted by Gaia and the spirit of William O. Douglas to insert sarcastic sour comments into any post about political matters. I guess Agent Quxxo is off tonight.

Palladian said...

"I beg your pardon? Those of us who are utterly opposed to Alito's confirmation should stand quietly by and surrender because Ms. Althouse requires it?"

Why are you utterly opposed to Alito's confirmation? Specific examples, please.

I rather suspect that many people who are "utterly opposed" to Judge Alito's confirmation would be "utterly opposed" to any nominee that was put forward by this particular president.

nypundit said...

Palladian, I'm sure if this president would have nominated someone like Justice Ginsberg they may have approved.

Jacob said...

Well if you're "frightened nigh into stupified horror" then maybe you should've worked harder to get Kerry elected. Elections have consequences, you know.

Henry said...

mary and vizsla1086, you're missing the point. The political reality is that barring a January surprise, Alito is not going to be defeated. So those who have an argument with the mainstream conservative judicial philosophy he represents need to present a counter argument. Setting up a strawman and getting scared by it isn't convincing.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
P. Froward said...

Henry, but what if it's a really, really scary strawman? What if you make believe it made you cry and stole your lunch money? These are very serious concerns. You can't just laugh them off.

Ann Althouse said...

Delete? I'd have to understand it first.... Wha?

Henry restated my point accurately.

Those of you who think I'm giving bad advice to the Democrats: I say I'm not. Your preference for a hysterical freak-out is ridiculous. Liberals must present a sound counterargument to conservative jurisprudence, not just gasp and accuse conservatives of being bad people. Really: shape up! Right now, this President has the appointment power. Deal with it. It's part of the constitutional law you need to make us believe you are grounded in.

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cold Pillow said...

Ann Althouse:It's part of the constitutional law you need to make us believe you are grounded in.

If only you could lead by example. I believe in the last few days you have come out in one form or another against the first amendment(pro censorship) and the fourth amendment(Illegal Search apologist).

Not exactly a strong point for demanding grounding in the constitution. I am still working on overcoming my shock and disappointment at someone I respected as a constitutional expert coming down on the side of the 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper' crowd

Mark said...

I am going to go out on a limb and make a prediction that Alito will not get confirmed barring the nuclear option. According to the Wall Street Journal poll, 72% of Americans would oppose Alito if they believed he'd overturn Roe v. Wade. Democrats will do their best (as they should!) to demonstrate Alito's judicial philosophy and its real world impact.
Also, politically it makes sense for Democrats to oppose Alito; especially in the wake of concerns about "imperial presidency".
So, expect a filibuster against Alito, joined by all Democrats save Nelson of Nebraska. Perhaps Chafee and Snowe will join them.
Obviously, my opinion is that it will be a very good day for the USA if Alito is defeated.

AJD said...

"Right now, this President has the appointment power. Deal with it. It's part of the constitutional law you need to make us believe you are grounded in."

Yeah right, Ann.

And right now, the Democratic senators are in a position to vote no. Deal with it. Confirmation is not a rubber stamp. Moreover, the minority has some power that you need to make us believe that you respect.

Robert said...

Alito’s got a little one…meanwhile mine is like that of a Sicilian Zucchini. Deal with it!

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem I see for the Democrats is that the only reason that they have left for opposing Judge Alito is political. They can't really claim now that he is incompetent.

The problem with opposing him politically is first that the Republicans didn't oppose Justice Ginsberg when she was nominated, despite being arguably much further out of the mainstream in the opposite direction. Opposing Alito on political grounds would truly open up payback, should they ever reclaim the presidency.

None of this is of course going to matter for Democrats from heavily Blue states, like Teddy Kennedy. I expect another petit mal seizure from him. But it probably will matter at the margins, for Democratic Senators from Red states who will lack the cover of being able to claim lack of competency.

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bruce Hayden said...

Mark,

On the other hand, a lot of Republicans are just itching for a fillibuster, so that they can invoke the nuclear option, and get it out of the way, once and for all. This would be the prime time for it - thwarting the president for a well qualified pick to the Supreme Court. And after the Nuclear Option is triggered, say bye-bye to semi-moderate appeals court judges until the next Democrat gets elected president.

Remember, the Republicans only need to keep from losing 6 of their own to pass the Nuclear Option, and without the cover of incompetence, it is going to be hard for that many of them to defect.

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

Bruce,
First, I highly doubt that nuclear option will have even 50 votes. Already McCain, Chafee, Snowe and Collins are on record as opposing it. Add to the mix Warner, possibly Hagel, possibly DeWine (in tough Senate race), possibly Graham. Especially in the climate where many, if not most, Americans question the awesome grab of power by this President.

"Semi-moderate" appeals court judges? Please. Almost every single one of Bush's appeals courts nominees is a very very conservative person. It's clear that ideology plays a paramount part in Bush's selection of nominees? So why should not it play a role in Senators' deciding how to vote.

Politically, nuclear option is a loser for Republicans, especially in the election year. People are tired of all power being concentrated in one party's hands, and Republicans' changing the rules will look as a power grab (which it will be).
And for Democrats it may be even better if nuclear option is exercised, it will ensure that the next Democratic President's judges will be easily confirmed.

We'll see if I am right in a few weeks, but I stand by my prediction that there will be a filibuster against Alito with very good chances of succeeding.

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sloanasaurus said...

"...Politically, nuclear option is a loser for Republicans, especially in the election year...."

You have to be kidding? The Nuclear Option will most certainly pass under a filibuster. Remember, the "gang of 14" agreed that a filibuster was only allowed in instances of "extraordinary" circumstances. You only need 2 out of the 14 (two Republicans) to agree that no such circumstances exist. Both Dewine and Graham have already stated that ideolgy is not grounds for extraordinary circumstances and would go "nuclear" for any filibuster of a candidate that was similar to Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owen. Alito is no more conservative than those two judges.

Seven Machos said...

Mark and trolls: Your problem is thus: what is your particular grievance? You don't have a majority in the Senate. The presidency is in the hands of Republicans. You make no arguments other than: Alito is bad because he may overturn Roe (with what law, by the way, and was Roe a good decision or was it not?).

I will predict that Alito will get an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor and that his confirmation votes will be close to 60.

You can't win by being a reactionary. You have to have a political vision. For the judiciary, you need a judicial vision. "Keep stuff like it was in 1979 or so" isn't a vision. Republicans learned this basic lesson from 1930 to about 1950, and then it took 30 more years to get out of the political wilderness. You'll learn eventually.

knoxgirl said...

ugh, I like the fact that there are differing opinions on this blog, and I like that Ann is not quick to delete comments. But some of them on this thread are just dumb and depressing. Did somebody really just call someone else a "fag"?

MadisonMan said...

Re: fag. Didn't someone just post about keeping things like they were in 1979?

I'm curious though -- given that Alito is a replacement for Miers, whom the Republicans scuttled, how could Republicans complain if Democrats scuttle Alito. FWIW, I don't think they will, and it would be a mistake to do so.

Someone will probably opine that Alito is more qualified. By whose standards? Not the ones of the person making the appointment, apparently.

Cold Pillow said...

sevenYou make no arguments other than: Alito is bad because he may overturn Roe (with what law, by the way, and was Roe a good decision or was it not?).


That's some strawman, I don't even think Roe has come up in this thread. I think most of the complaints about Alito are related to his extreme conservative views. Whether it is concentrating power in the executive, sidestepping the 4th amendment, and yes, overturning roe. But it's laughable for you to point the finger at Democrats for being partisan when you look at the ridiculously partisan slant of a large number of Bush nominee's.

Ann Althouse said...

Knoxgirl: I'm quick to delete when I'm on line. I shut off the computer early last night. You're right. There was some childish stuff written here while I was away. I left in one that didn't refer to any of the commenters. Writing crap like that reads (to me) as a concession that you have no substantive arguments. You disqualify your own voice. But you also waste our time. By deleting your work, I can make your time writing it wasted, which you richly deserve.

Ann Althouse said...

It's especially telling when supposed liberals taunt by calling someone a "fag." (Or similarly, sexist comments they've aimed at me.) It's just a huge admission that you are partisan and not principled. Why should we care what you have to say?

knoxgirl said...

There's especially a trend of people jumping on and wagging their finger about what you should post, as a blogger, as a law professor, blah blah. It gets really old. The whole "I'm disappointed in you, Ann..." line. barf.

Again, I like the diversity of opinion here, and I respect and am glad for the presence of people I sometimes disagree with but who are always thoughtful and respectful: Elizabeth, Eli and Mark come to mind, and I'm sure there are others I can't think of right now.

But the others need to stop wasting your and the rest of your loyal commenters' time. As you are wont to put it: "shape up!" and stop being boring. Especially the ones who think they're being funny or ironic with comments like "fag."

Pogo said...

"Reactionary" is certainly the most apt description of the hissy fit on the left over Alito.

Kennedy will surely drag out his well-worn anti-conservative phrasebook, to speak of hangars and hatred and the hoofbeats of apocalypse. (When describing the End of Times resulting from veering starboard, these are a few of his favorite things.)

And cold pillow, why would you think a mostly conservative president, who has appointed a conservative Chief Justice would not appoint another conservative justice? That is, why would he or should he be non-partisan in that choice?

Ann Althouse said...

MadisonMan: The problem with Miers was that she was conspicuously unqualified to sit on the Court. Alito is well qualified.

Ann Althouse said...

Knoxgirl: I think Goober believes he's created a comic persona. That could be acceptable in the comments, but he needs to do it better. Sexist and homophobic taunts are not working in the way you might think they do. "South Park" is the work of comic geniuses. Just adopting a "South Park" element does not make you funny.

bearbee said...

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Was this reported in the MSM? It seems to me that they would have been slobbering over this tidbit........

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: Did you even notice the word "supposed" before liberals? Jeez!

Cold Pillow said...

Did you even notice the word "supposed" before liberals? Jeez!

Why exactly are they a 'supposed liberal'? I'd hate to be the one to argue homophobia as a predominately liberal trait. In fact I'd say it could easily go the other way.

Could it be that Ann supposes they are liberal so she can distance herself and her conservative beliefs from the ugly comments?

I'd say that's more likely.

Pogo said...

mary appears to believe that a blog is discredited when deleting, ignoring, or ridiculing comments that are argumentative, insulting, or juvenile.

I disagree. It seems to me that mary wants to believe that liberty is equivalent to libertinism, when clearly they are not the same thing, but very nearly opposites. Civility enforces the civic. Libertines enforce anarchy.

Fighting fair, in mary's world, means permitting abusive behavior, and responding to idiotic arguments like "is so!" with detailed ripostes. Feh.

Verification word ~ ridcwyhb: the awful but unshakeable feeling that one is arguing with spambot.

bearbee said...

"Verification word ~ ridcwyhb"

Isn't that Welsh?

Pogo said...

bearbee,

I think the Welsh invented everything.

Sloanasaurus said...

I missed the "fag" post. Sounds like somethign Jon Stewart would say.

Sloanasaurus said...

"....diverse student body, open to all qualified candidates who have competed to get in...."

You have to be kidding me? You think a law school classroom is full of students who are all "qualified" to be there and who have all competed to get in. That does not sound like reality to me.

Pogo said...

Re: "Fighting dirty, like a girlie some cultures would say, is when you delete a terse insult, then CONCLUDE a person's political ideology by the rude insult."

1. Saying "some cultures would say" does not minimize your choice of the phrase "Fighting dirty, like a girlie ". In fact it is the very same thing you supposedly deride in that same sentence, ascribing an insult to some other folk, but using it. It permits one to be abusive while simultaneously disavowing that abuse.

2. It's not a giant leap of logic to suggest that someone slinging insults or nonsense like Mr Goober on this blog is probably opposed to Ms. Althouse, and therefore more port than starboard. It's a judgement call, and likely a very good guess. You want courtroom DNA proof? Feh.

Re: "When discourse falls to the level of entertainment news or cartoons, we are in trouble."

When discourse requires one to follow some ludicrous guidelines invented by an anonymous poster, we are in trouble. Your rules have no basis in argument that I know of.

Sloanasaurus said...

"....What about these comments would lead you to believe 1) the person is serious, or 2) they are a "supposed" liberal?..."

It's clearly a "supposed liberal" mocking Christianity. How could you see it any differently?

How come liberal artists don't make fun of the prophet Mohammed. Showing Jesus with a bong or Mary fornicating is cliche these days. In contrast, attacking Mohammed would take real guts and real artistic challenge.....hmmm perhaps Christians aren't so bad after all.

Henry said...

Let's review mary's work on this post:

- off-topic sophomoric sarcasm
- off-topic tantrums at other commenters
- off-topic tantrums at Ann Althouse

I prefer Agent Qxxxo. Given the choice.

Ann Althouse said...

"mary said...
By selectively deleting posts, you manipulate the argument."

One of the ones I took down said something nasty about YOU!

Cold Pillow: "Why exactly are they a 'supposed liberal'?"

I wrote that because the person was so nasty from the liberal pose that I had some suspicion that it was someone trying to make liberals look bad.

And what the hell? What's with all the anger abou my deleting posts where a commenter calls another commenter a "fag."

Really, now people are just junking up the comments with long, self-serving rants. You're wasting our time. I'm warning you that I'm going to delete anything repetitive or too long now. This whole thread was hijacked in the first comment. That's unfair to those of us who actually want to talk about the Alito nomination and not a lot of jabbering about my comments policy. If you don't like it: get your own blog. See if anyone wants to read you there.

Let's talk about the original post now.

Ann Althouse said...

Okay, that last one of Mary's came in after I wrote I was going to start deleting things like that, so I won't delete it. But that's it for things like that.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sloanasaurus said...

"Enforce the rules equally is all we ask. Don't give one "side" special spin or advantage."

I think Althouse equallly removes disgusting posts. Althouse can and should remove any post she wants.

On the other hand, this is just a blog. If Althouse deletes one of my posts I would not feel as if my rights were violated. Instead, I should perhaps re-examine my discourse in the probable chance that Althouse deleted the post for a good reason.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Goatwhacker said...

Mary, I did have a discussion on this board last week with goober_snatcher (unfortunately it's fallen off this page so I can't find it for you). He noted he felt the wiretaps (as well as most other actions by the Bush adminstration) were motivated to enrich oil companies. His positions were decidedly liberal at that point anyway.

I do agree with you that his comments were designed primarily to get a rise out of people, but based on my conversations with him he has a decidedly liberal bent and characterizing him as a liberal is accurate. I think most people looking at the totality of his posts would agree.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Just don't try to sell yourself as a principled thinker, allowing free discourse, and encouraging competing views...."

Frankly, I don't understand where this view comes from. I don't recall arguing anywhere that I oppose free discourse. Nor does anyone on this board make such an argument. That is pure nonsense.

There are plenty of people on this board that argue that other outlets such as the NY Times or the MSM or Bush/Cheney oppose free discourse....but that is part of our own free discourse.

I need to find my little red book.

Coco said...

As an alumnus I'm certainly intrigued by this comment by Sloanasaurus in reference to the UW law school:

"You think a law school classroom is full of students who are all "qualified" to be there and who have all competed to get in. That does not sound like reality to me."

I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt here Sloanasaurus, although I think I'm pretty sure I know what you're saying here. If you are, I believe you are severely misinformed - especially as it relates to the UW law school. But, I'll give you the opportunity to explain with more precision before I comment further.

I'd like to hear your explanantion and I'd certainly be interested in Ann's reaction to your assessment of her students.

Sloanasaurus said...

Thanks Coco... my point is that there are some people in law school who are not qualified to be there and did not "compete" to get in...yet they are there anyways....why?

Btw, this fact has nothing to do with how the professors. I am sure Althouse can attest to reading horrible exams and papers and wondering why some people are in her class or even in the law school.

Vizsla1086 said...

"Would do well to take deep breaths and calm down....."

You're not addressing my point to Ms. Althouse, who directly suggested those of us who are opposed should simply acquiesce.

I'm quite prepared to discuss why I oppose Alito, but that's a different discussion. Presidents have the prerogative of selecting who they wish, but selected candidates must still pass Congressional muster, so it becomes a POLITICAL (sorry for the caps but can't uderline here) process. Presumably that means being able to use procedures and process to one's advantage.

Elections have consequences. So does breaking the law.

Oddd makes the odd point that adhering to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights is somehow suspended at one's convenience when in argument.

Regardless of anyone's sincerity or success in execution (and this administration seems to fail at both those endeavors) the Constitution should obtain. If I understand Odd properly, his suggestion is that one can obliviate another's civil rights if someone else has done it first.

That, apparently, seems to be President Bush's argument.

Ann Althouse said...

Sloan: I disagree with that characterization of the Law School's approach to admissions. Academic credentials count for everyone, even when we do give a lot of attention to other factors. We are trying to assemble an interesting group of students, so we don't just take the students with the highest GPA/LSAT numbers. It would be a very different, less vibrant place if we did.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Mary: You were on notice that I would delete your repetitive comments that selfishly made this thread about you instead of the original post. You are abusing this forum and need to stop.

Sloanasaurus said...

Althouse: Do you think it was better long ago when they used to let more people into law school but it was harder to stay in. Perhaps that was a better system...