Saturday, January 14, 2006

Some Thoughts

Son tried to go back to school yesterday but called at 10:30 and needed to be picked up. Poor boy. He slept all day and went to bed at a reasonable hour (for Mom). He was to do the Boy Scout troop's service project, tree planting, but I nixed that outing. I expect him to stay in and catch up on schoolwork.

I read an article by Robin Givhan of the Washington Post yesterday concerning the attire of Judge Samuel Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann, for the Senate hearings. You'll remember this is the same writer that criticized Judge John Roberts wife and small children for looking like a Leave It To Beaver fifties-style family. In other words, they were appropriately dressed for the occasion.

Ms. Givhens noted that the Alito's did not look like the typical political married couple. Mrs. Alito did not always have the best posture sitting in her chair, did not do the fawning face of a political wife and wore wire rimmed glasses similar to her husband of 21 years. She mentioned they were somewhat coordinated in color as though they were off to Sears for a family portrait. I guess this is a dig at the common person.

Frankly I find it refreshing that this couple doesn't feel the need to comply with typical behavior within the beltway. They are not a political couple, he is a lawyer turned judge and she is a former teacher and librarian. Sounds plenty respectable to me. I am relieved Mrs. Alito didn't show up in a St. Johns knit suit and do the Nancy Reagan smile for the cameras. The elites are full of hypocrisy - every day kind of people are not really good enough but the rulings of Judge Alito are criticised by the moonbats that claim he doesn't give the common man a fair shake. Both thoughts were soundly proven false and the chorus looks nothing but foolish.

I have been thinking about the process of becoming a judge in this country, or sometimes just a local politican for that matter. The scrutiny of one's personal life overrides professional capabilities when political agendas get in the way. If the opposition party is determined to keep you off the bench or out of office it seems now acceptable to go after the nominee by way of personal defamation. Both sides have been guilty of this practice but it seems to have reached new levels.

When former President Clinton nominated Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court, the Republicans knew they were too liberal in judicial philosophy for their taste. So what? The President of the United States is charged with nominating candidates to the bench and the Senate is to hold hearings speaking to the capability of the candidate. If nothing in the candidate's background is found to be so extraordinary to disqualify the candidate, then the vote moves to the Senate floor. To vote against the candidate for purely political reasons - say because the special interest groups that give your campaigns contributions tell you to vote against the candidate - is dishonest in the most basic way. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, for instance, received a vote of 96 in the affirmative. She was a former lawyer for the ACLU and known for quite out of the mainstream judicial opinions but she received a fair vote based on her legal qualifications, not how the opposition guessed her future opinions on the bench would be.

How would the members of the Senate Judicial Committee stack up if nominated for the screening process in use today?
Ted Kennedy - obvious personal problems of alcohol abuse, womanizing, cheating in college on a Spanish exam, allowing a young woman to drown after a car accident and leaving the scene while not reporting it for 8 hours while consulting lawyers and advisors, divorced, and to this day a member of a club at Harvard called the Owl Club which has a reputation as sexist and elitist and even booted off the campus in 1984 for violating federal anti-discrimination laws.
Joe Biden - caught up in plagerism charges during 2 political campaigns and during a previous presidential run.
Dianne Feinstein - a problem concerning a Guatemalan housekeeper. She was fined $190,000 in 1992 for failing to properly report $3.5 million in campaign expenditures. Her husband's company scored a $600 million Iraq war contract.
Charles Shumer - As head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, two employees of this committee are being investigated for illegally obtaining Michael Steele's credit report last. Mr. Steele, a Republican lt. governor of Maryland, is African American and running for the governorship. Shumer narrowly escaped indictment for misusing state funds in his 1980 Congressional race.
Dick Durbin - Previously pro-life on record in the 1980's as saying "he believed that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided" and that "the right to an abortion is not guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution".
Patrick Leahy - Caught leaking confidential information in 1987 while on the Senate Intelligence Committee. His staff has the reputation for dirty tricks.

Double standards abound.

"The judiciary should do what it is supposed to do, but it has to have respect for the political process. And the judiciary's role is confined to enforcing the Constitution, and enforcing the laws, and not going beyond that". - Judge Samuel Alito, Jr.

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