It's only a matter of time before the Senate votes to confirm Judge Samuel Alito, Jr., to replace Sandra Day O'Connor as the next Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. Indeed, anyone who tuned in to last week's hearings recognized the proceedings to be political posturing by individual senators of the Committee rather than an appropriate evaluation of the judge's unquestionable intellect and stellar qualifications.
Following the hearings, both moderate Republican senators from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, said they "would not support a filibuster" of the nomination. Dianne Feinstein, widely considered one of the Senate's most liberal Democrats, indicated similar sentiment when questioned on CBS News' Face the Nation. "When it comes to filibustering a Supreme Court appointment, you really have to have something out there, whether it's gross moral turpitude or something, that comes to the surface," Feinstein said. "I don't see those kinds of egregious things emerging that would justify a filibuster." The more recent announcement by Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) stating his intention to vote in favor of confirmation all but secured Judge Alito's fate.
It's now common knowledge that Judge Alito will ultimately be approved in committee by a 10-8 party-line vote. Absent what Democrats themselves consider to be an unlikely ability to dig up a silver bullet, he will be confirmed by the full Senate.
None of that, however, stopped Judiciary Democrats from reneging on a "good faith agreement," which was made with Republican leaders more than two months ago, to hold a committee vote on January 17. None of that prevented them from exercising their "right" to delay the long-scheduled vote on Judge Alito's confirmation for yet another week. The vote is now scheduled for January 24.
Given the obvious confirmation of soon-to-be Justice Alito, why the delay? Back in November when the so-called good faith pact was reached, the highest ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, stated unequivocally that the only conditions for violating the agreement was "if something extraordinary comes up that neither Senator Specter nor I anticipate or expect." Setting aside Senator Ted Kennedy's inappropriate theatrics during the hearings, nothing extraordinary came up - Nothing. In fact, the only explanation offered is that Democrats didn't want to cut short their Martin Luther King Day holiday.
Believe that and we have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
No, the real motivation behind the delay is to appease the liberal special interests that primarily make their living -- a very healthy living -- opposing judicial nominees who don't openly subscribe to their radical agendas. Make no mistake, liberal groups such as People for the American Way, Alliance for Justice and MoveOn.org, wield that much influence and power. And, Senate Democrats are all too willing to bow to their demands and proceed with the ongoing strategy of obstruct and delay that has come to define them in the process.
You see, putting off Judge Alito's fate means these groups have another week to spread lies and innuendo about Judge Alito's character and attack the President in the media. It means they have another week to run their television ads in states such as Ohio, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania where Republican Senators face tough re-election battles this year. It means they have another week to find that nonexistent silver bullet in the hopes of slowing Judge Alito's momentum. It means they have yet another week to justify their relevance to their extreme liberal base.
The delay has nothing to do with Judge Alito's qualifications and ability to serve on the Supreme Court.
To date, Judge Alito's confirmation has been pending in the Senate for 79 days. By the time he's finally confirmed, it will be closer to 90 days. It's time to move on. It's time for Democrats, in good faith, to stop pandering to the liberal groups who seem to dictate their every move. It's time for them, in good faith, to stop playing politics with the federal judiciary. It's time for them, in good faith, to do their constitutional duty and permit a fair and prompt up-or-down vote.
Fortunately, Judge Alito won't have to rely on the Democrats' "good faith" for much longer.January 19, 2006
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