More Hearings Video

Here are three videos from the hearings. First, Kicking Ass has portions of my interview with Eleanor Smeal of Feminist Majority. Also, I have heard that Can o Fun has the video of Cornyn calling Alito "Scalito." Further, Think Progress has video on the Kennedy-Specter spat from earlier today.

The Big Republican Joke

One thing that is growing increasingly clear to me during the hearings is just how fiunny Republicans in the Senate judiciary committee think they are for getting away with their basic strategy in the hearings, which is for Alito to answer as few questions as possible.

Earlier today, when Specter noted that Alito had actually taken an opinion on something, all of the Republicans on the judiciary committee laughed. Then they went right on urging him to not take an opinion on anything. Getting away with the stonewall strategy is funny to Republicans.

Yesterday, Lindsay Graham, who helped prepare Alito for the hearings, made a joke about how funny it was that Alito couldn't remember anything about Vanguard or Concerned Alumni for Princeton. Everyone laughed, and then they went right on telling Alito that it was perfectly acceptable to say that he didn't remember anything. Getting away with lying is funny to Republicans.

And, of course, when Graham made a comment about Abramoff in the same quip, everyone laughed. Because, of course, getting away with being corrupt is funny to Republicans.

Republicans are finding it hysterical that their strategy of stonewalling, lying and denying obvious corruption is working. They wouldn't be laughing if they didn't think that their own strategy on this matter was absurd. They wouldn't be laughing if they weren't so impressed with themselves for getting away with it in front of the entire nation. They wouldn't be laughing if they didn't think it was perfectly acceptable for them to keep doing it.

Maybe the hearings are a joke. Hey, I spent much of yesterday writing pretty snarky posts about the events down here. What particularly amazes me, however, is that we are seeing these jokes told in front of the entire media corps, and in front of the democratic leadership, and no one is really calling Republicans on it. If everyone believes the whole thing is absurd, why do they keep going through with it?

Man, this really must be the most cynical place on earth.

Settled Law

Just one point on Roe, to follow up on Atrios.  There's a lot of nonsense about the legal reasoning behind Roe, but that's really besides the point.  There are different schools of legal reasoning, which means that coherence by one school is incoherence by another (ahem, Bush v Gore much?).  Roe's rationale has changed pretty substantially; originally it was written to protect the rights of doctors, but now it has intersected with women's rights, privacy rights, and civil rights cases as well.  Settled law means that functionally, Roe has taken on the meaning of a legal precedent that other courts must work under.

It's not some airy philosophical debate.  Roe is de facto part of the constitutional order under which we live.  

Evening Alito Round-up

Here are some blogs I'm looking at: Check 'em out. Post more links in the comments.

Update (Chris): Something amazing just happened. First, Hatch just jumped into the middle of Feingold's questioning when Feingold was really pushing Alito on Vangaurd and ethics concerns. I believe it was the first time someone has broken into another Senator's questioning, either in these hearings or in the Roberts hearings in September. Interesting that this happened over ethics concerns and not rulings or ideology. The ethics questions really seem to be much more of a threat to Republicans in these hearings.

Next, when the Feingold-Hatch exchange was over, Lindsay Graham went on to say perhaps the most amazing line of the entire hearings:

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believes Judge Sam Alito when he says he doesn't remember certain parts of his murder boards.

Alito smiled appreciately.

Continued Graham: "And if any of us come before a court and say we can't remember Abramoff, you'll believe us."

"Abramoff who?" queried another Senator.

"Wasn't he the guy in the Bible?" asked a third.

Wow. Just wow.

Update 2: Cornyn just called Alito "Scalito."

Is Alito Lying About Concerned Alumni for Princeton?

Well, yes, he is lying, but I wanted to ask other people the same question. So, during the lunch break, I went down to the press area with Tim Tagaris, armed with only a single question:

"Do you believe Judge Alito is telling the truth about his association with Concerned Alumni for Princeton?"

I managed to ask the question to the Presidents of three major advocacy organizations, and also to Senator Durbin. Here were the responses:

  • Ralph Neas of People for the American Way said that Alito's response to this line of questioning was "not credible." Mr. Neas added that he personally remembered the 1980's pretty well, including what organizations he was involved with at the time.

  • Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice said that it is "hard to know what to believe" and she asked "how do you forget" being a member of an organization for eight or nine years. I had a simple response to this question that generated laughs among the people around me: "because he's lying."

  • Debra Ness of the National Partnership for Women and Families said "no." She told me that Alito not remembering his association with such an organization "stretches the imagination."

  • Tim actually managed to get video of Senator Durbin's good response to my question. Check out Kicking Ass for the video. Here is the transcript:I couldnt understand his answer. That they removed ROTC was the reason he belonged to this organization? I mean, it totally did not follow. I mean the only the thing you can argue is that somehow or another women and minorities were opposed to to ROTC. I mean, I can't, I don't understand it, and I'm going to ask him if I get chance. It just made no sense to me.
Alito is lying about his involvement with Concerned Alumni for Princeton, and the reason he is lying is because membership with such an organization demonstrates an embarrassing level of opposition to civil rights in this country that should disqualify someone from being a Supreme Court Justice. That he is unwilling to be truthful during his confirmation hearings further demonstrates just how unqualified he is.


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