The Bore-Alito Hearings
Now some of you out there probably remember that I was right in the thick of the pitchfork-wielding mob of conservative peasants that was figuratively storming Castle Bush after he nominated Harriet Miers. After all that, after at least a post a day for weeks hammering on Bush and Miers, you’re probably wondering: “What’s going on? The Alito hearings have been going on for two solid days, everyone in the blogosphere is writing about it, and now he has nothing to say? It makes no sense!”
But, here’s what you have to understand: these hearings are just Kabuki theater. Probably 95 out of the 100 Senators up there already know how they’re going to vote — on the filibuster and on Alito — and the other 5 will be swayed by political pressure and reelection concerns rather than anything Alito says in these hearings. Remember, because of the Ginsberg precedent, Alito is allowed to sidestep, dodge, and weave as much as he likes. In fact, Alito’s goal is going to be to come across as knowledgeable and likable while simultaneously telling people absolutely nothing of substance about what he actually believes.
Put all this together and you have Senators grandstanding for the cameras & Alito doing the two-step. It goes about like this:
Senator Kennedy: Mr. Alito, isn’t it true that you want to put black Americans back in chains, deny women the right to vote, make George Bush a dictator with unlimited powers, and force poor women to eat their own children to survive?
Alito Thinking: You know what would have been fun? Being the judge this clown was in front of after he left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown. Boy, I can just imagine the look on his face right after I sentenced him to 20 years of hard labor!
Alito Responding: Gosh, Senator Kennedy, those aren’t my positions at all! Actually, I love freedom, puppies and motherhood! Speaking of mothers and family, there’s my family right over there. Aren’t they telegenic? Oh, and have I mentioned that I have no ideological agenda, love justice, and think everyone should be treated equally under the law? I have? 11 times already? Well, let me say it again now!
Unless Alito really slips up, these hearings are just a lot of sound and fury symbolizing nothing. The only really important thing is whether Alito will be confirmed or not and by my calculations, the Republicans have the votes to launch the nuclear option if need be and get Alito confirmed afterwards.
Once that glorious day comes, not only will the court have shifted significantly to the right, the GOP will have exorcised the demons of the Robert Bork hearings once and for all. That, my friends, is something worth looking forward to…