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Caught betwixt and between
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Alito filibuster effort is gathering a few Democratic Senators to the cause, most notably Hillary Clinton. The NY Daily News tells us the obvious:
The filibuster tactic could have repercussions for Clinton. Her move is bound to be seen as an appeal to the liberal base that dominates the Democratic presidential primaries, following several Senate votes that could be seen as attempts to move to the center.
Nah ... really? My guess is some internal campaign poll is showing her support fading with her natural constituency and this is a quick way to boost it back up there again. She'll support it, but no too vociferously.

And Harry Reid, who was against the filibuster before he decided to be for it:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has now stated he will support a filibuster of the nomination judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. The liberal Nevada Democrat has reportedly been under heavy pressure from fringe left wing groups to help stop the nomination.

"Everyone knows there is not enough votes to support a filibuster," Reid said, referring to the procedural roadblock that some Democrats said should be used to put off a vote on Alito.
But what the hey, if the fringe says dance, Harry says ok. All it does is waste the Senate's time when they could be passing some bill which none of us would want. So dance, Harry, dance.

Harry's not the only one. Apparently DiFi has signed up too. First she said:
"I do not see a likelihood of a filibuster," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "This might be a man I disagree with, but it doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court."
But now, after a thorough pillorying on lefty blogs, she has capitulated. Of course that may also be because Mother Sheehan said that if she didn't filibuster, Sheehan would run against her:
U.S. peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, said she was considering running for office against Sen. Diane Feinstein while she waited for the California lawmaker to back a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

Sheehan issued her statement Friday, the same day Feinstein announced she would support the filibuster, despite saying earlier this month that she did not see anything to justify one. Democrats fear Alito would shift the court rightward on issues including abortion, affirmative action and the death penalty.

Sheehan's statement was sent by e-mail while she was in Venezuela attending the World Social Forum. She said she had "decided to run" against Feinstein if the lawmaker did not join the filibuster.
Please, please, please, please, please, please run, Ms. Sheehan, please, please, please. We're going to need the comic relief.

Meanwhile HuffPo has a post by someone named Cenk Uyger (described as a liberal radio personality who is "Part Howard Stern, Part Howard Dean" - could you possibly come up with a worse combo?) who is holding something called a " live on-air filibuster". OK.

Additionally Uncle Teddy held a conference call with bloggers on the left and stirred the pot as only he can do:
This is an uphill battle, but one in which we can at the very least achieve a moral victory. Approached with principle, with passion, and with vigor, a moral victory is not a hollow victory. As Senator Kennedy told us, "You don't ever lose fighting for principle, for what is decent and right. You don't ever lose when you have the power, the force of being correct."
You mean like the principle that Supreme Court nominees shouldn't be required to answer questions about cases which might come before them? Not that principle? Oh, okay, just wondering.

I admire their spirit, and obviously something is working on a few Senators, but remember folks, 2/3s of them aren't running this year and so far, beside the two yobs from MA, those joining the fight are up for election this year. Well, except for Harry. Harry is just being Harry. But elections make you do funny things I guess. Apparently so do blogs.

Tonight's beer blogging beverage is Konings Hoeven Blond Trappist Ale, followed by a lovely St. Sebastiaan Golden Belgian Ale. Dutch and Belgian seem to go together well. And to make it more nordic than Belgian, I'll end it with the best porter I've ever had; D. Carnegie Stark Porter from Sweden. Yum. Still can't figure out how I stayed completely out of Germany tonight though.
 
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Why would anybody who wants to live in a free Democracy such as the United States support the nomination of a far right conservative Justice to the United States Supreme Court? The Republican’s don’t want freedom, they want a fascist-like country so they can dictate their own morality to other people. The conservative Justices of the United States Supreme Court rule against individual freedom and privacy at least 90% of the time. Check out my website, www.greatestofalltime.homestead.com/intropage.html and vote Democrat in 2006, and 2008!
 
Written By: Dan Haege
URL: http://www.greatestofalltime.homestead.com/intropage.html
The sad thing here, from my perspective (and I think more broadly from a libertarian perspective), is that they’re sorta right for the wrong reasons. Going by Alito’s record, he shows a strong tendency to defer to the other branches of government even when such a stance is questionable. At best we can expect him to be a swiss cheese federalist like Scalia, and at worst an empty robe. I think it’s unreasonable to ask a prospective justice how they would rule in a specific case, but they can and should grill him on his interperetations of every sensitive and important clause of the Constitution, such as the president’s Article II powers, the 4th amendment, the 9th, etc.

But instead we get political showboating because, heaven forfend, he might vote to overturn a piece of bad precedent like Roe. Lord, please, hasten the day — maybe then once that’s done with and the states have all passed their own laws one way or the other, we can finally start to have serious consideration of something other than ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION. Sigh.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
...he shows a strong tendency to defer to the other branches of government.
You mean Alito doesn’t legislate or execute laws? Horrors!

Cheers!
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
That does seem at the crux of the complaintgs, equitus.


As for Sheehan, et al;

I said at my own place this morning:
Look, I’ll grant you that Kerry, Kennedy, Schumer and Reid (Otherwise known as the Four Horseman of the Ridiculous).... They are each individually doing a tremendous job at discrediting everything the Democrats stand for by properly representing it.
All one needs after all to discredit the Democrats is to tell the truth about what they stand for, and these four idiots are doing a bang-up job on that one.

But I say that Sheehan can give them the push needed to finish the job, once and for all, and kill the Democratic party doornail dead. And I can’t think of another area of the country that deserves this disgrace more than the district that foisted Dianne Feinstein off on this country.

So, Go, Mother Sheehan. Your army is behind you.
In a more general sense, however; there’s been a thought brewing in the back of my mind for several days now as regards the democrats and their future. I still don’t have a fully formed in words yet but I’ll make a stab at it here;

I wonder if we will see over the next two years, either the mainstream democrats, or the one the left, attempt a surgical separation, one from the other. a couple years ago when Howard Dean was placed in charge of the DNC, I observed that the inmates had taken over the asylum.

However, seeing the resistance of the mainstream democrats to such as Code Pink, for example and Cindy Sheehan for another, and seeing the split even in their senatorial delegation as in; Kennedy Kerry, Reed, Schumer, vs Byrd, et al, vs Tim Johnson, etc, it’s clear that the takeover is far from complete.

It becomes clear and the viewing, that one of these groups is not going to survive, and it’s possible that neither will survive. I get the impression that whatever form this split eventually takes, it won’t be happening until at least the 2006 election cycle is over and possibly, 2008.

As to its lead in; I note with some amusement that Teddy "Bridge" Kennedy is now blogging over at Kos’ place along with his fellow horseman, Kerry.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
The Democratic campaign plan for ‘06 (and ’08) is becoming more clear.
1) Pump the NSA “scandal” for all it’s worth: either we uncover some innocent victims to justify it or we have an excellent example of the “excesses” that the Republicans have used to seize and retain power.
2) The big problem is our (Democrats’) credibility on national security. OK, let’s help the mountain come to Mohammed. Let’s characterize the Republicans as fraidy cats, or, better yet, let’s accuse them of using (warm, cuddly – to us!) terrorism (that doesn’t frighten us in the least) to do terrible things with our government. They have cried “Wolf”! Oh sure, we have to lock our doors at night, but beyond that we shouldn’t worry about terrorism. Wait for it.....”the only fear we have to fear is fear itself!”. It worked in 1932 and it will work now.
I know we promised Ted he could have one, but I think an op-ed in the NYT is a better kick-off. The liberal faithful will jump on board as they realize that this is the way to beat the Republicans at their own game.
Next, we spin all the “traitorous” acts and attitudes as being really “keeping our cool” and remaining “unruffled” as the Republicans “overreacted”. Why, their terror is exactly what the terrorists wanted them to feel. Get it? We didn’t fall for it. We kept the same calm, reasonable attitudes we had before 9/11. They are a bunch of babies; getting all scared of a highly unlikely nuclear blast. We are the real brave ones. We spit at their....no, that is too much like Bahgdad Bob. Forget the spitting. Anyway, it just plays itself from that point on. Just keep calling them sissies.
When it really gets going we come out with it: that THEY are the real threat to our safety and security, not the terrorists. Oh Jeez guys, this will work!
If we filibuster and let this push get legs, we may even be able to turn enough Senators to still win the Alito thing.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Wow equitus, what a blatant Orwellization of my sentence. You put a period in there when there was second half to it: "...even when such a stance is questionable." By which I meant questionable even on the strictest of legal grounds. For example:
As an assistant solicitor general, Alito strongly opposed the ruling of a court of appeals in the seminal case of Garner v. Tennessee. In that case, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed 15-year-old boy when he fled with $10 from a home. Alito supported the right of the officer to kill the boy for failing to stop when ordered, a position ultimately rejected by six members of the Supreme Court and decades of later decisions.

Likewise, Alito authored another memo that argued strongly in favor of giving immunity to officials who violate the rights of citizens — a position long rejected by the federal courts.

As he did as a Reagan administration attorney, Judge Alito often adopts standards so low that any government excuse can overcome any government abuse.

For example, in Doe v. Groody, Alito wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that police officers could strip-search a mother and her 10-year-old daughter, despite the fact that neither was named in the search warrant nor suspected of crimes. The majority opinion was authored by fellow Republican and conservative Judge Michael Chertoff (now serving as secretary of Homeland Security). Chertoff criticized Alito’s views as threatening to "transform the judicial officer into little more than the cliché ’rubber stamp.’ "

In Baker v. Monroe Township, Inez Baker and three of her children, all minors, were approaching the home of her son as a search was being conducted. Even though the warrant allowed a search of only the premises, the mother and her children were forced at gunpoint onto the ground. At least one of the teenagers, a 17-year-old boy, was searched, Baker’s purse was dumped out on the ground, and they were left handcuffed for as long as 25 minutes. Where the two Reagan appointees found "a very substantial invasion of the Bakers’ personal security," Alito dissented and wanted to bar them from presenting their case to a jury, a view effectively gutting the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.
Does this sound like someone who takes the 4th Amendment seriously?
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
You want to know what I find hysterical and delicious about the whole thing? Hillary, Reid et al are now following JOHN KERRY!

Maybe he should be the new minority leader?

The Kos/NYT bloc is a gift that keep on giving
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
I predict Kerry will attempt to make precisely that move within the next two years, Shark.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
You’re right Matt, we should get more justices that read the words of the
4th Amendment and conclude that there’s a right in there for cities to take your private property and make it someone else’s private property, to improve the tax base.

Why, I’m SURE that’s what Jefferson, Adams and the rest had EXACTLY in mind
when they passed an Amendment to protect private property.

You might want to do a history check though, because ’rights’ that we have today we didn’t have 50 years ago (Abortion perhaps?) and ’rights’ we had
150 years ago we (Thank God) no longer have today, like owning people....

Let’s all get together and freak out that the Supreme Court might start
ruling on the law again instead of creating it....even if they DO only
manage that for the tenure of justices that rule on law instead of legislating from the bench.

And I’m still waiting for Bush to turn us into a dictatorship - I recall hearing how that would happen. He’s as bad a dictator as the left claims he is a President.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Wrong Amendment - 5th Amendment....my very bad.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, what on earth are you even babbling about? What has that got to do with the issues I’ve raised? My precise issue with Alito is that I don’t think he’ll apply a strict interperetation of the Constitution consistently! I would be in heaven if we had nine Clarence Thomases on the bench, but Alito is no Clarence Thomas.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
I dunno, Matt... they attacked him in pretty much the same manner...
([/snark]

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Is there anyone who’s willing to peel their eyes away from the political football and take this nomination with the seriousness it deserves? Anyone? Beuller? Or am I just talking to myself?
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
I think it’s fairly difficult to determine how he’ll vote on the Supreme Court by looking at how he’s voted in the past. We can get broad outlines, but Justices rarely turn out like the caricatures that are painted in the nomination process. Alito’s role as a SC Judge will be very different than his role on a lower court judge.

As I’ve said before, I think some of the accusations leveled at Alito (e.g., "strip search Sammy") are stretched a bit beyond "fair use". I do worry that he’ll be an Article II rubber stamp for this (and every future) administration, and I worry that he’ll have the same deference to established institutions that Rehnquist had. But perhaps that’s my own policy inclinations talking.

I’m not sure it’s possible to do more than speculate how Alito will turn out. My own choice — Alex Kozinksi — woulda been a hell of a lot more reliable....fun, too.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I think it’s fairly difficult to determine how he’ll vote on the Supreme Court by looking at how he’s voted in the past. We can get broad outlines, but Justices rarely turn out like the caricatures that are painted in the nomination process. Alito’s role as a SC Judge will be very different than his role on a lower court judge.
Agreement. Which, is precisely why I refuse to take the chicken little routine about Alito... from liberals, or libertarians, for that matter, seriously.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Yes, well, your willingness to defer to Bush’s judgement suprises none of us, Bithead. Your record of rationalization and obedience is unquestioned.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Thanks, Jon. I agree with you for the most part, and share your concerns. It’s true that we can only get a very rough idea of what kind of justice he’s be on the SC from his previous record, but even the sketchy image we get from that is enough to set off a few warning flags. There should have been closer scrutiny of his views on Article II, the 4th and 5th, etc, as well as federalism and his overall legal philosophy. If the Democrats were serious they’d have grilled him up and down on this stuff and possibly discovered genuinely serious grounds to reject him, but alas. So I find myself rooting for the filibuster even though I think it’s moronic and never should have gotten to that point.

All in all I’m inclined to believe that Alito will actually be a step backward from O’Connor in the realm of civil liberties, and I say this as someone who didn’t even approve of O’Connor’s judgement all that often. I have the strong impression that Alito is the kind of judge who’d have voted the right way in Lopez but the wrong way in Raich, i.e. pretty much like Scalia. I’d have preferred Janice Rogers Brown myself, but Kozinski would have been fine too.

The only good thing I can see coming out of this is that all it’ll take is one more conservative justice to overturn Roe. Then maybe the country will finally be able to talk about something else and a little dignity will be restored to the SC.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
Sheehan run against Feinstein? Count me in on that please, please, please. That might split the blue bloc vote enough for a Republican to get in there. Of course, that depends on the CA Republican Party pulling its collective head out of its collective posterior far enough to actually run someone electible, so it probably won’t happen, but hey, a gal can dream.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
There should have been closer scrutiny of his views on Article II, the 4th and 5th, etc, as well as federalism and his overall legal philosophy.
I agree, but — and this is my Achilles heel on SCOTUS nominations — I tend to believe that Presidents should get their nominees; that the Senate’s consent should merely weed out the criminal, unqualified and corrupt, rather than applying policy tests to judges. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the politicization of judicial nominations leads to a real quagmire.

At any rate — and recognizing that this may or may not apply to Alito — one has to remember that lower court judges are bound by stare decisis and precedent in a way that SCOTUS judges are not. Maybe that’s a rationalization, and maybe it’s not. We’ll find out.

My phasers are set to "skeptical"....as they usually are with government.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Yes, well, your willingness to defer to Bush’s judgement suprises none of us, Bithead. Your record of rationalization and obedience is unquestioned
Whereas your non-support of the man on any topic... even on points you’d agree with, were it anyone else, is also unquestioned.

Funny; You say:
I tend to believe that Presidents should get their nominees; that the Senate’s consent should merely weed out the criminal, unqualified and corrupt, rather than applying policy tests to judges. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the politicization of judicial nominations leads to a real quagmire
Yet, let someone else make mention of this, and suddenly your Bush Derangement Syndrome takes over... and you’ve just given us a classic example.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Your reading comprehension is as good as ever — which is to say, it is poor. I didn’t criticize deference to the President’s nomination. I criticized your unwillingness to "take seriously" the criticisms of Alito. One can have legitimate problems with Alito without being "chicken little" or believing that he ought to be rejected.

Not you, of course. You’re the photo negative of MKUltra — reliably partisan.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I criticized your unwillingness to "take seriously" the criticisms of Alito.
Who happens to be a Bush Appointee.
Who, were he appointed by anyone else, you’d not make a sound, by your own admission. Your flaming issues with BDS aside;

Hw can anyone have serious issues with Alito, if, again, your words, not mine, you really don’t know he’s going to rule on any given topic? That’s why I call the screaming "Chicken Little", Jon; Every single time we’ve had a Republican nominee to the bench, we’ve heard from the Chicken Little Crowd how the world as we knew it was over. And, every time it was proven utter nonsense as the nominees turned Justices, proceeded to issue rulings that were out of step with what even the presidents nominating them had expected, proving THEY did’t even know how they were going to rule. How the hell can the opposition know?

Sorry, this is all so much smoke...

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Who, were he appointed by anyone else, you’d not make a sound, by your own admission.
Liar.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
You’d best concentrate on the nature of rights, Jon.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
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