Liberals on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee are gravely concerned. In truth, they are perpetual grave-concern machines, but this week they have been gravely concerned about Judge Samuel Alito, the nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.
They are gravely concerned that he might be a racist. They are gravely concerned that he might be a crook. They are gravely concerned that he might be for big guys over little guys. That he might be against immigrants, women. That he might have a fetish for strip-searching 10-year-old girls. That he just won't tell them how he would vote on Roe v. Wade, should it ever come up again. That he belonged to a Princeton University alumni organization. Why, this is a man who once said something nice about Robert Bork. Liberals are gravely concerned.
Anyone who has ever attended oral arguments at the Supreme Court recognizes it as perhaps the last bastion of adult behavior, of legal acumen, of truly skilled oratory in this country. It is a quiet place, a respectful place where liberals and conservatives alike struggle diligently to interpret, in their view of the greater good, this country's guiding principles. The Senate Judiciary Committee, in contrast, has become Animal House -- egocentric, infantile, dysfunctional and disgraceful.
That a nominee, any nominee, to the former has to endure an ordeal before the latter is enough to make one rethink "advise and consent," predicated by the Founders on the now-questionable theory that their successors in public service would be at least functionally competent and marginally decent.
For someone of Judge Alito's impeccable character, unqualified accomplishment and obvious adherence to the highest ideals of the judiciary to be subjected to unfettered nastiness by the likes of Kennedy, Durbin, Biden and Schumer - each carrying his own pungent baggage -- is as indicative of a "culture of corruption" as any example one can find. What they have attempted is not the aberrant, in-the-shadows corruption of the few, but the public, institutional corruption of the process.
We are among those, growing in numbers, who believe that liberalism has become an intellectually bankrupt ideology. No stronger proof of that need be exhibited than the morally and ethically bankrupt tactics to which some of liberalism's most prominent adherents have resorted at this week's hearings. The principal witness was not Judge Alito: it was his inquisitors. They witnessed not for any institution that can be seriously referred to as "the world's greatest deliberative body." For that, we should all be gravely concerned.January 12, 2006
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