As we head into another confirmation hearing for yet another Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, activists are exhausted from doing all of the heavy lifting for the past five years so let’s hope our Democratic Senators are well rested enough from their holiday break to take up some of the slack. Monday will be the beginning of a long overdue victory for the left, or it will be the beginning of the end for America.
C-Span covered a speech Thursday by Sen. Chuck Schumer at the Center For American Progress on the topic of the Alito confirmation. Gone was the wavering that was rampant on the Hill when Judge Roberts was up to bat, what could be heard instead was a striking amount of conviction that Samuel Alito is the wrong man for this post, particularly at a time when the biggest threat we face as a nation is a President on a mad quest for more power. Women’s groups and Civil Rights advocates have been screaming about Alito since his name was first announced, but to hear a Senator come out with both barrels blazing, is music to the ears.
We shouldn’t be surprised if Democrats on the Judiciary Committee take it to Sam Alito, considering he would be a vote on the Supreme Court that could very well make Congress obsolete. His warped ideas on Presidential authority would make our trip down the slippery slope toward a dictatorship fast enough to give us all whiplash. Of course this consideration plays second fiddle to the threat to their authority each Senator will surely feel when presented with Alito’s written judicial opinions. Most troubling is his advice to the President that when signing a bill, he should add his own “interpretative signing statement” so that when courts review the law they can take into account the President’s intent as well as that of the legislature. A frightening change in the way our system currently works and not one that Senators are likely to look favorably upon.
The warrantless wiretapping of Americans that Bush feels is within his authority to order will also get some serious play in the upcoming confirmation hearings. Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy have both informed Alito that they intend to ask him directly if he believes the President has the authority to order warrantless spying. Just that alone will make watching the hearings worthwhile. Is there really any doubt what his answer will be? Still, it will be fun to watch him attempt to explain his position in a way that won’t sink his nomination right then and there. But perhaps some of our Senators are not nearly as concerned as the rest of us about unchecked Presidential powers. It will be interesting to see where each member falls on this most serious issue.
This is the big fight that the Religious Right has been waiting for, a chance to tip the scales of the Supreme Court in their favor. But for them, it couldn’t come at a worse time. Their President is mired in scandal and their Congressmen are on the verge of being exposed for the shady crooks we knew all along they were. This seems like it should be a slam-dunk for Democrats, but that’s exactly what should have us all a bit nervous.
This is a fight we cannot lose. There are no possible grounds on which we should accept Samuel Alito on our Supreme Court, it would be a giant step backward and a fall there would be little hope of recovering from for a long time to come. Democrats have been shut out and shut down for so long that there is a feeling of defeatism within the Party leadership as well as in the ranks, but now is not the time to succumb to the sweet temptation to turn away in order to avoid watching the worst. The Democrats may be demoralized, but the Republican Party is wounded and now is the time to go in for the kill. This is the showdown, our last stand, and we need to make sure our Senators not only show up to the fight, but have the ammunition and the guts to see it to its proper end as well.