Saturday, January 14, 2006

Whoa, the President keeping campaign promises, high-powered nominees turning out to be high-powered

Via How Appealing, this Sunday NY Times article titled Democrats See Wide Bush Stamp on Court System apparently says that some Democrats are appalled that President Bush is following through on his campaign pledge to nominate conservaties to the federal bench, and that the two Supreme Court nominees have known their stuff too well to be affected by the sometimes less-than-spirited, sometimes mean-spirited cross-examination by the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

My two impressions of the Alito hearings, of which I watched and read a great deal, were these: (1) Alito is outstanding in every way, yet another example of a system that somehow produces good outcomes in spite of itself, and (2) the Democratic Senators were not doing a very good job. I mean, that CAP stuff was nonsense, the Vanguard stuff was nonsense, the 1980s memos were nonsense, and for every Alito case or Alito opinion the Democrats cited, the Republicans could cite that many more.

The only point that any of them made that made any sense to me is how do Alito or Roberts decide which areas of the law are settled and which are not - although not because I agree with the Democrats that there are more settled areas, but because I suspect there are fewer - and everyone knows it. If Professors Tribe and Chemerinsky (two names at random) were on the Supreme Court, some precedents would fall, as surely as some precedents may fall with Sam Alito instead of Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

My favorite part of the hearing was the testimony of the Third Circuit judges, particularly Judge Aldisert, at age 86. I suppose but for the fickle pick of fate, he might have been on the Supreme Court, if say President Johnson had been re-elected - which gets back to the Times article, which concludes with the point that some Democrats acknowledge the only thing to do to change the course of events is to win elections, as their strategems to gum up the nomination process has not worked.

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