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Sunday, January 15, 2006
Althouse and the “Glum Democrats”
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:51 pm

Ann Althouse comments on the NYT piece that has worked out to be a big focus here at PoliBlog today (here and here).

She makes several of the same points as did I: the solution for the Democrats is winning elections, and that there has been far too much attention paid to the crying business:

We’ll never hear the end of the wife’s crying. It’s becoming mythic. If only that hadn’t happened, we could have gotten some footing out of Kennedy badgering him about the alumni club. But the crying resonated because we experienced the questions as unfair and because we too were exasperated by what we could see was political posturing.

We hear a lot about the crying, but there is at least as much talk about how long the Senators spoke. They seemed to be making political speeches, which really was consistent with their own bad decision to portray judging as a political enterprise.

Emphasis hers.

The whole post is worth a read.

Filed under: US Politics, Courts/the Judiciary | |Send TrackBack


  1. Uh, excuse me. But one makes “judging a political enterprise” when one nominates someone with a clear political agenda. The enterprise does not become political only at the moment that the opposition notes that the nominee is, in fact, political.

    However one rates Alito’s existing record as a judge or projects his future performance as same, that his record includes a highly political role as an advisor to a former president seeking a transformation of the judiciary and its constitutional role is not in question. And that record most certainly is “admissable” in confirmation hearings and on the floor of the senate.

    As I have said before, if presidents and their partisan supporters do not want “political” confirmation processes, they can nominate consensus candidates. They get the first move, and if presidents can take politics into account, so can senators.

    Comment by Matthew — Monday, January 16, 2006 @ 12:31 pm

  2. Matthew,

    I understand your basic position, but I don’t think it fair to characterize Alito as “someone with a clear political agenda”-Miers, maybe, but while I can see that one might not agree with rulings he has made during his time on the bench, but I find it difficult to characterize that record as one of a person with a clear political agenda.

    In regards to the blockquote, I probably should have left off part, if not all of the last paragraph, as it deflects from my focus on the crying issue.

    In the context of Althouse’s quote, I do agree with the idea that the Senators engaged in political speeches, but not as focuses on the politics of Alito, per se, but to score political points with their supporters.

    That is different, I would argue, than what you are talking about-which is to acknowledge the political implications of the nomination. I can live with that, and expect that.

    I would prefer more of a focus on judicial philosophy than we get, rather than what is typically a focus on policy outcomes. But even a debate about judicial philosophy is ultimately about politics.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Monday, January 16, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

  3. Indeed, the portion of the quotation I jumped on deflects from the crying-which is good, actually.

    By political agenda, I mean his position in the Reagan administration in favor of an expansive interpretation of executive power, which (as I have argued) is what makes his nomination (as opposed to other potential sitting judges from the right-wing side of the spectrum) a continuation of that of Miers (and I wrote that before “signing statement” had entered my vocabulary).

    But reall, the best analysis of all is that of John Pitney: Judge Alito is a heffalump

    Comment by Matthew — Monday, January 16, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

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