Thursday, January 12, 2006
The whole confirmation spectacle is a direct result over nominees refusing to answer how they would rule in certain circumstances. Because Alito won't say how he would rule on, for example, abortion cases, the Democrats are forced to resort to all sorts of gimmicks in order to drum up support for denying him a seat on the Supreme Court. Were Alito to simply say how he would rule, then all of the silliness would go away.
And, unlike all of the supposedly smart legal scholars out there, I think Alito - as should every nominee - ought to answer the questions we all - Democrat and Republican alike - want answered. We want to know whether he could or would vote to overturn Roe-v-Wade... we want to know whether he would defer to the President in wartime... we want to know if he would vote to allow race-based affirmative action.
And there is no good reason he shouldn't have to answer. Forget about 'prejudging' cases. He's not being asked to rule on specific cases that are now before the Supreme Court, he's being asked his views on general principles.
And let's just toss off the idea that judges only reach a decision after hours and hours of careful thought on the issues. I'd wager that every appelate judge makes up their mind after about 10 minutes of thought... and the rest of their time is looking for the words to ratinalize and justify their opinion.
Look at it this way: Alito is applying for a job. An important job, one held by only nine people in the country at any one time, but a job nonetheless. How many readers have ever applied for a job where they weren't asked how they would handle a hypothetical situation? How many of you would have ever dared to not answer the question by telling the interviewer that you wouldn't want to prejudge the situation?
And, as bad as the Democrat's behavior has been, those on the right side of the aisle have no grounds to complain. The Democrats are only doing what they're doing because the GOP Senators allow Alito to not be held to account for refusing to answer legitimate (yes, legitimate) questions. That's chutzpah... forcing the Democrats to act like babies... and then complaining about them when they act just that way.