According to the AP (via CBS News), the Judiciary Committee vote on the Alito nomination has been delayed one week, by agreement of Sens. Specter and Leahy. The committee will now vote on the nomination on January 24th, with the debate moving to the full Senate thereafter should Alito be approved by a majority of the committee.
Sen. Harry Reid was asked about the delay and Bill Frist's comments that it was a partisan tactic to stall:
"This is a key swing vote on the Supreme Court and Democrats are not going to be rushed into anything," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.Well, now that's more like it. Plain spoken, straight out yet polite STFU to Frist. Well done. Would that Harry Reid's office had been contacted by the NYTimes for their rending of garments article on Sunday.
The good news is that some strategy may actually be planned at tomorrow's Senate Democratic Caucus meeting.
Oooooh, stop it. Stop teasing me with the prospect of coordination and coherent messages. It's making me tingly.
Oh, and Frist, may I say, has again failed to force things through on his terms -- is he the weakest majority leader that everyone else can remember, too, or is it just me?
While it's not a win, it's at least a victory in a part of the skirmish -- politically, the Preznit doesn't get his quick vote. Frist looks ineffectual. Again. And the Dems have bought themselves a little more time to actually coordinate a coherent message for the full Senate debate.
Here's my suggestion: hit the things that matter to real people, the sorts of things that make them sit up and take notice like "if the Preznit isn't willing to follow the laws regarding wiretapping, what's to stop him from sending people into your house to search it without a warrant and seizing your guns? Sam Alito could help him do just that, because he's been really supportive of whatever the Preznit wants to do."
Or they could try "A vote for Sam Alito is another vote for big corporate interests, and allows the Preznit to reward his big money political cronies at the expense of ordinary Americans. Haven't these people taken enough from all of the rest of us? Have you paid your heating bill lately -- you think oil companies aren't raking it in, you wait to see what a packed Supreme Court allows them to get away with in the next few years."
There is a lot more to discuss with regard to potential themes. And we'll be discussing it here over the course of the week. Please feel free to chime in with your ideas -- think of it as a collective help the Dems brainstorm. It's only our future through a lifetime Supreme Court appointment at stake, after all.
UPDATE: An interesting op-ed in the WaPo today by Ruth Marcus. Although I do think it is a bit unfair to Winnie the Pooh. Don't know that I agree with everything in this, but it's worth some thought and discussion, so I thought I'd bring it to everyone else's attention as well. Where is the line between precedent and justice, or is there a line? It's a tough call in a lot of cases, and personal and political philosophy play a very large part on where that line is likely to be for a judge.