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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alito Questioning: Day 2, Part IV

FEINGOLD SECOND ROUND: Death penalty cases and effective representation. Alito agrees that effective representation is of utmost importance – must apply habeas statute as determined by Congress – must look at it via unreasonableness standard. Your record has been overwhelmingly pro-government, even more than other Republican appointees. Alito says he has only sat on a limited number of these cases and has also ruled, on occasion, for defendants. Questions with regard to fair procedure on jury selection, judicial elections and other issues which can skew death penalty cases. Alito definitely more deferential to government interests than the reasoning from Stevens quoted by Feingold. Then on to Vanguard. (Smack at Hatch for grandstanding.) Ethical rules apply, period.

GRAHAM SECOND ROUND: Gosh, you sure are ethical. Princeton eating societies – OMG, this is dull. Blah blah blah people "of color" or "of boobs" like you blah blah blah. (RH: Lindsey’s getting pissy about people questioning associations.) Protracted discussion by Graham about Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s confirmation process and how Roe can’t be the sole rationale for voting. (RH: I would note that the Republican party shouldn’t have tried to spilt the political landscape to grab power using religion as a political tool, then – because this is what we are reaping from what the GOP has sown.) Then reads a nice letter from someone who like Alito.

SCHUMER SECOND ROUND: Pressing Alito to give straight answer on Roe and whether or not it is settled or not. Alito: Perhaps I’ve said to much on Commerce Clause cases – but I’ve drawn the line in answering things where I felt it was appropriate. Schumer finds that unsatisfactory, given the fact that Alito has very clearly answered other questions of law on other issues – and he finds it disingenuous. (RH notes: Alito and Schumer don’t seem to like each other very much. Both are a bit edgy.) On to CAP: why put CAP on your application when you have such a vague recollection of it now? Why not put one of your other organizations – ABA? Community groups? Etc.? Glad committee will look into documents – says this is important. Alito says that racial discrimination and bigotry and discrimination against women are things that he has always been opposed to throughout his life.

CORNYN SECOND ROUND: Gosh darn it, I like you. And everyone else should as well. Blah blah blah grandstanding crap blah blah blah I’m not asking you any questions blah blah blah Christy needs coffee (RH: Ooops, that was me. Just slipped out.) Blah blah blah. (RH notes: Weirdest question of the hearings: Are you a clone? Cornyn – the intellect that keeps on giving.)

Break until 5:00 pm ET.

DURBIN SECOND ROUND: Unitary executive – important because it gives President extraordinary power, and allows him to violate laws during time of war. Alito says question of scope of executive power – but no question that laws must be faithfully executed. Alito says he is only referring to President’s control over the executive branch – not discussing Commander and Chief power, says that has nothing to do with Unitary Executive. Freedom of exercise of religion and establishment. Lemon test. Coercion theory – and Alito brings up endorsement test as a third test. Alito says court hasn’t settled on a single theory that applies – depends on facts of case. (RH notes: That’s my understanding as well. Any Con law folks read this differently?) Role that personal religious and moral beliefs play in judicial process. Important in personal life, but as a judge, you apply the laws and Constitution – does not involve religious or moral views on the rest of the country. Extended discussion of Lemon test factors and school prayer issues. Establishment Clause from Warren Court that troubled Alito in his law review note?

BROWNBACK SECOND ROUND: Gosh darn it, I like you.

COBURN SECOND ROUND: More charts - can’t they make these things readable? - and a discussion about why Coburn disagrees sometimes with articles in JAMA. And then right back to abortion. Blah blah blah abortion blah blah blah abortion blah blah blah. (RH: Good ole One Track Mind Tom. You can’t say he never talks about abortion, can you?) And gosh darn it, people like you.

Alito Ques. -- Day 2, Part III
Alito Ques. -- Day 2, Part II
Alito Ques. -- Day 2, Part I

(And as a personal note, man could I use a cappuccino.)