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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Senate Judiciary Vote on Alito Today


The Judiciary Committee will vote today on whether or not Judge Alito will go to the full Senate. It's crunch time. Although it is probable that Alito will attain the majority needed to exit the Committee, nothing is certain until the last vote is cast.

The Committee is scheduled to begin proceedings at 9:30 am ET.

The SFChronicle has some insight into the ideological divide between Alito supporters and opposers. And it has a lot to do with the same ideological considerations that divided the nation in 1985 when Alito applied to work in the Reagan Justice Department.
Alito wrote that he was proud to have contributed to Reagan administration legal arguments "in which I personally believe very strongly," including the assertion that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."...

Assertions of presidential power, which Alito made during a Reagan administration campaign to regain executive authority lost after Watergate, now can be cast by critics as his endorsement of unilateral authority to wiretap Americans or abuse foreign captives. The once-controversial reapportionment rulings are now seen as landmarks of equality. And abortion has become, if anything, even more central to judicial confirmation, to the point that any position on the issue can be politically dangerous for a nominee.
At a time when America is so deeply divided, with a President who has grabbed extraordinary power in the wake of a national tragedy, and who has attempted to scapegoat his critics as unpatriotic because he is too much of a coward to face an audience that isn't hand selected to worship at his feet, it is an extraordinarily important moment as an Associate Justice may be selected to fill the shoes of Sandra Day O'Connor.

Will the next Justice be another rubber stamp for a power-hungry chief executive? Will the Supreme Court lean even further rightward -- not in a libertarian way, but in a far right ideological extremist way?

What are the long-term consequences of such a move, for the nation and for political undercurrents in the years to come? A lot of questions, all of which come to the same conclusion for me: Samuel Alito is not the man for the job. Here's hoping a majority of the Judiciary Committee agrees with me. We shall see.

(Photo credit to AP via Buffalo News.)

UPDATE: Digby makes a very good point about Liars for Life. (via Atrios) Some days...yeah, I don't even know how to finish that, I'm so disgusted this morning.

Oh, and Leahy was interviewed this morning by Norah O'Donnell on MSNBC, and said a filibuster is unlikely. Just in case you were wondering. (Hat tip to reader truth.) I sure hope, as reader pseudonymous in nc says in the comments, that the Dems have some serious work going on to prep for the FISA hearings. Otherwise, seriously pissed is not going to begin to describe where I will be.

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