Wednesday, January 11, 2006


When Judge Alito was nominated to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals back in 1990, here’s what Senator Kennedy said to him during his confirmation hearings:

“You have obviously had a very distinguished record. And I certainly commend you for your long service in the public interest. I think it is a very commendable career and I am sure you will have a successful one as a judge.”

Then, last Monday, he lambasted Judge Alito’s record and him personally.

Is it because now he’s up for the High Court and there’s more at stake?



Jeanette said...

Of course that's why. I know we're supposed to respect our political leaders, but I have almost NONE for Kennedy. I was watching him today and in my opinion he's a disgrace to the country.

SM said...

Let's not forget to add that yesterday Kennedy pronounced his name (to his face), "Judge Ali-o-toe". Um... Yeah...

james said...

Just a thought.

It was 15-plus years ago that Kennedy made his statement before Alito was confirmed to the 3rd Circuit Court. 15 years is a substantial amount of time to produce a record for good or for ill. Is Kennedy not allowed the grace to review Alito's 15 years of service and in turn present a careful review of this service? Even if Alito's record on the 3rd C.C. didn't live up to the expectations of Kennedy's initial statement.

I guess what I'm saying is you're comparing two statements separated by a lengthy time span. The first a hope for good service, the second a reflection on this service's past. Doesn't really sound like a fair assessment, and to be honest it sounds as if you're already holding a slight bias against Senator Kennedy (which is fine).

Here's a piece of the Kennedy/Alito transcript.

KENNEDY: "I had the privilege of chairing his [Alito's] confirmation hearing in 1990. And at that time, he had practiced law for 14 years, but only represented one client, the United States government.

And I asked whether he believed he could be impartial in deciding cases involving the government. And in that hearing, Judge Alito said on the record that the most important quality for a judge is open- mindedness to the arguments. And he promised the committee that he would make a very conscious effort to be absolutely impartial. We took him at his word and overwhelmingly confirmed him to the 3rd Court of Appeals.

We now have the record of Judge Alito's 15 years on the bench and the benefit of some of his earlier writings that were not available 15 years ago. And I regret to say that the record troubles me deeply.

In an era where the White House is abusing power, is excusing and authorizing torture and is spying on American citizens, I find Judge Alito's support for an all-powerful executive branch to be genuinely troubling."

And that bit..."Alito's support for an all-powerful executive branch to be genuinely troubling." I think all of us left and right od the spectrum should find a bit troubling.

Thanks for allowing my to express that.



Kevin & Amy said...

James, good points. Thanks for your comments. I agree but I also think that Kennedy, based on his own record, would never vote for someone like Alito for the Supreme Court and he's engaging in a lot of extreme rhetoric to please his liberal constituents.

And I think he would have been much less eager to approve Alito in '90 if he had THEN been up for Supreme Court vs. 3rd Circuit.

Liberals view judges differently than conservatives. Conservatives ask that they respect the law - liberals ask that they rewrite it so they can get what they want. Kennedy knows what's at stake here and he's pulling out all the stops.


james said...

Thanks Amy,

I do understand what you are saying but i don't think i agree, and would encourage you to re-examine some of these cases in which you think laws have been rewritten.

Take a look especially at the US Supreme Court's taking away from the Florida Supreme Court, in 2000, the case of Gore vs. Bush. The Conservatives on the S.C. agreed to illegally take this case out of the hands of the Florida S.C. I mean this is the greatest case of judicial activism we've seen in the last decade or so.



Kevin & Amy said...

Hey James - I'm not the type of person who things Republicans-can-do-no-wrong. Trust me. But I hope you can agree with me that, generally speaking, conservatives are strict-constructionists while liberals tend to see the "emanations" and "penumbras."

Kevin & Amy said...

Oops - "thinks" not "things." :)

james said...

Thanks for clarifying. I guess it's just not that simple to me. To some degree I guess the topic is somewhat sensitive, as I've sat among the camp which believe republicans and conservatives are the party of the Christian faith. Not saying specifically that this is what you are saying, or that this is what you believe, but some of the elements of your intitial premise seem have brought these things to mind.

I believe you when you state that you are not a "Republicans-can-do-no-wrong" kind of person. But if it's okay to ask, are you a "Democrats-are-always-wrong" kind of person?

Perhaps as far as the courts go, conservatives tend to sway along the constructionist approach, but even still there are liberals who have employed similar approach. I think traditional conservative has a greater tendency to fit your statement, rather than the conservatism we see today.

Thanks again,