Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On the Alito nomination

Just a reminder: calling your Senator works. And don't assume that because you're represented by a Democrat he or she will vote the right way, or that because you're represented by a Republican he or she will vote to ban filibusters.

It doesn't take very long. I'm doing it tomorrow.


  • At 10:56 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Is a filibuster over Alito really where we want to focus our energies? Who would be his replacement? There are a lot of scarier nominees, and it seems like the only way another nominee could be better is if they were somehow closer to death.

    This is a fight we lost in 2004, don't you think?

  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Who took over your body? No, losing the election in 2004 does not mean we have to take whatever Republicans want to do lying down.

    a) There are a few scarier nominees, but not that many. This guy's views on unlimited executive power can't be allowed on the Supreme Court right now.
    b) His replacement wouldn't necessarily be even farther to the right (viz. Harriet Miers).

    Bush is appeasing the fundamentalists who got him elected. He doesn't have any particular commitment to Alito. Alito wasn't his first choice, obviously. But that appeasement is now complete. It doesn't hurt Bush if those evil Democrats block the nominee the fundies wanted, and it gives him an excuse to swing back to the middle for the next one.

    Besides, why not filibuster? What the fuck do the Democrats have to lose? And if they can't stand up for what they ought to believe when there's nothing to lose, why should anyone ever trust them with a vote?

  • At 11:59 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    What I said months and months ago (as it was happening, but that was before I acquired my immense influence at Left Behinds) is that Schumer and the other Dems fucked up the Miers nomination. Why in the world did they give Bush the rationalization for backtracking on what was widely considered an embarrassingly awful nomination? Why was Schumer demanding she turn over all those documents?

    Miers would have been fantastic for Democrats ("look at Bush's cronyism!"), and she was probably moderate enough to be a kind of quiet Sandra Day O'Connor in terms of judicial impact.

    Have you seen the short list of nominees? The risks of replacing Alito with a loud Clarence Thomas are so high that I'll take Alito. I wish it had been Miers, but I'm just glad it's not Janice Rogers Brown. And if you don't think Bush would react to a filibuster as if it were a declaration of war, you haven't been paying attention to his extremely paranoid regime.

    It's just pathetic (truly pathetic) that the Kerry campaign didn't harp on the Supreme Court over and over and over. But thank god they spent so much time discussing the Vietnam War.

  • At 12:09 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Oh, I'm sure Bush would go crazy over a filibuster. I just don't see why that should matter.

    I haven't seen any real short list of nominees. I've seen speculation of who might be on such a list, but I very much doubt Bush has made the real one public. No one saw Miers coming. Bush picked her because his whole team was off-kilter at the time. If Karl Rove ends up indicted in the new year, they could be that off-kilter again.

    What have you seen about Alito that suggests he won't be awful?

  • At 12:12 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    It's not what I've seen about Alito, it's what I've seen about some of the other rumored potential nominees. He at least is committed to the rules of logic and reason. He may be nasty, but he's not crazy. Some of the others are crazy. Like, footsoldiers of Jesus crazy.

  • At 12:13 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I'm thinking less in terms of how bad Alito will be, more in terms of how bad things could be with another, crazier nominee.

  • At 12:38 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    No matter how crazy the current nominee, there will always be a crazier potential one. (I'm not sure Janice Rogers Brown even exists at this point--I think she's just something to scare the children with.) At some point on the creep out to the right you have to decide no, this one is too crazy to accept. For me, Alito's views on presidential power are that one step too crazy.

  • At 11:27 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I dunno. I think that was the reasoning that got us Alito rather than Miers.

    At any rate, it seems like a done deal. Do you really think there's a chance this nomination could be blocked?

    I'm watching the liberal testimony at his hearings right now, and it's just like, where the fuck were you guys in 2004?

  • At 11:31 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    So far, the most damning testimony was the Yale prof who made a good case that Alito is a judicial constructionist when convenient and a judicial liberal when convenient, making it seem very likely that it's all results-driven jerrymandering rather than principled jurisprudence. People do not say that about Scalia, for instance, who is supposedly very principled and consistent, even when that leads to results he personally disagrees with. So in an important way, Alito will be worse than Scalia.

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Also, couldn't Alito be thought of as replacing Rehnquist and Roberts as replacing O'Connor, in terms of overall impact on changing the court? That makes Alito seem less scary, since he's not so different from Rehnquist.

  • At 2:13 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I don't know what makes you think Democrats sank the Miers nomination. Mostly they didn't say anything. Miers mostly took flak from conservatives and was only finished for good when it came out that she'd given a speech in favor of abortion rights.

    Even if it's mostly a done deal, it takes a total of ten minutes to call or email both Senators. I did it this morning after my coffee, before my shit. I mean, it's not hard, and at least you can tell yourself you did something.

    Finally, Roberts seems to me very much like a Rehnquist conservative, and Alito very much like another Clarence Thomas (not another Scalia, who is very sceptical of unbridled executive power). There is no question that the combined effect of the two nominations will be to drag the Court dramatically to the right.

  • At 3:30 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I feel like blogging about it has more of an impact than calling up Schumer or Clinton, no joke. I mean, Schumer's vote is a fait accompli, and Clinton is already running a presidential campaign.

    The Democrats on that committee gave Bush the intellectual cover to withdraw Miers. If they had actually been neutral rather than made such a federal case out of getting documents from the White House that Miers had worked on, I really think there's a good chance Bush would have stuck by her. A columnist at the Washington Post made a similar argument about a week before Bush withdrew her, saying basically, "Schumer, shut the fuck up unless you're trying to give Bush an excuse to withdraw her."

  • At 5:42 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Come on. Since when does Bush use plausible intellectual cover to do anything? He can't even spell "intellectual."

  • At 8:48 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Really? After reading Kitty Kelley's book on the Bushes, I have a really strong sense of his character, and under that interpretation, loyalty is BY FAR the most important virtue (and apparently he gets that largely from his psycho, paranoid control freak mom, which is part of why I nominated her for one of the Ten Worst Americans ever). I don't think Bush would have betrayed a member of his inner circle (that's the way he thinks, not how I think) unless he had a very good rationalization, preferably one that he could blame on The Enemy, i.e., Chuck Schumer.

    That's just armchair psychologizing (owtch, what a word), but I refer you to The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty.

  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I agree with you that he would have stayed loyal to Miers to the end had he not been forced to give her up. But he was forced to give her up by Rove et al.--by the right, not by Democrats. Of course he used Schumer as cover, but they would have tried to pin their retreat on some Democrat no matter what. Schumer was incidental. Frankly, the intellectual cover was incidental. Bush got away with it for the same reason he gets away with everything: a lazy Washington press corps with the attention span of a kitten.

  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    [bats ball of yarn back and forth with paws]


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