Monday, September 12, 2005
Live Blogging Roberts Hearings are on C-SPAN3 on the web
In case you want to listen in.
I'll have it streaming in the background and will report anything of importance.
**And it begins.**
Judge Roberts brought his children. Apparently, he though ahead this time and asked Senator Specter if he could introduce his family at the START of the hearings rather than later on. That's good, given that Jack Roberts doesn't have much tolerance for long, boring (to any but us political junkies) hearings.
Everyone and their dog gets a ten minute opening statement. Specter notes that many historical hearings have been held in this room -- from the Titanic, to Watergate, to Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas hearings. Way to set a positive tone, Arlen!
Just as an aside -- the young lady sitting behind and to the right of Senator Specter REALLY should consider wearing a little make up tomorrow -- or getting some sun or tanning. She looks a bit like a famine victim.
Specter throws out the obvious question on the "right to privacy" and Roe v. Wade. He also takes umbrage at conflicting and inexplicable decisions of the Court, noting in particular the recent conflicting "Ten Commandment's" decisions banning Kentucky's version, but allowing Texas'.
Senator Leahy now speaks. Leahy has not gone a single minute without casting out the shadow of Katrina, stating that Katrina, poverty, and despair all justify governmental power. Shockingly, it appears he is also linking racism to Katrina.
Sigh. Now Leahy's stating (rather than singing) the Preamble to the Constitution. (Anyone in my generation knows how hard that is, particularly in light of the old Schoolhouse Rock commercials).
Leahy is setting the grounds for attacking Roberts if he takes an originalist stance. He is discussing the history of the Constitution, and particularly the issues of Native Americans, slaves, and women voters.
Hmm. Now Leahy is calling the Judiciary "the most isolated of the three branches of government." He claims that "the People" have no effective oversight of the Judicial Branch.
I guess he's never heard of the Legislature's right to remove a member of the Judicial Branch for misconduct, or the right of Congress to limit the jurisdiction of the Court, or to limit the Court's funding. I also guess he's never heard of the Executive Branch's ability to decide who sits in the Judicial Branch, and whether to enforce judicial decisions.
A tribute to Rehnquist. Then, to business.
Hatch decries the politicization of the judicial nominating process. Citing past precedent, he notes that the nominee can and should refuse to answer questions regarding how they might decide cases. Hatch has the following quote from Senator Kennedy on the 1967 nomination of Thurgood Marshall: "We have to respect when any nominee to the Supreme Court defers comments on any matters which are before the Court or likely to come before the Court."
Senator Edward Kennedy.
Here we go. Kennedy cites the idea that "all Americans are created equal." He then cites Katrina as teaching us all that many Americans are "left out and left behind." He states that too many have sacrificed too much to turn back the clock on social progress. He is, in essence, lecturing Roberts to not be a racist.
I suppose being a drunken serial philanderer, on the other hand, is okay. Just don't be a racist, okay?
Kennedy tells Roberts he must show he has demonstrated a commitment to the Constitutional principles that have advanced fairness, decency and equal opportunity in our society. In other words, Kennedy is more interested in outcomes than in anything else.
Kennedy thinks there are real and serious reasons to be deeply concerned about Judge Robert's record. Kennedy questions Roberts' commitments to "equal opportunity" and "to the bipartisan remedies we have adopted in the past."
Dear lord. Kennedy makes it sound as though Roberts and Bush plan on sneaking out late at night to mug poor disabled transgendered black lesbians in the Projects.
Senator Chuck Grassley.
Grassley notes -- Roberts is the first nominee of the Internet Age. It is an interesting new paradigm. Will the Internet heighten the bar to the point of unattainability for such nominees?
Grassley cites Chief Justice Marshall: "The duty of a judge is to state what the law is, not what it ought to be."
Nice job, Chuck.
Senator Joe Biden.
Biden tells me something I didn't know -- Roberts is a registered independent.
Biden is also a much smoother speaker than I remember him being. Dynamic, and worth watching.
Anyway, here we go. Biden is concerned by threats to a "national consensus" of a fundamentally important debate on rights to privacy and the power and scope of the national government.
At least this time, Biden is citing those whom he quotes.
He wants to know whether we will have an ever increasing protection for human dignity, or whether those protections will diminish. Biden says he thinks we need INCREASED protections of individual rights -- and cites to problems around the world (as opposed to any problems here in the United States).
Can anyone explain to me why suppression of individual rights in, say, China, would support an expansion of individual rights here in the Untied States? Why is it relevant?
Biden is trying to flip the problem of activist judges onto the Republicans. He states that Tom Delay has been unsuccessful in getting his agenda enacted through laws, and so Delay and others are now trying to stack the Court to get their agenda put through.
Excuse me? That is precisely what the Left has been doing for the past forty years.
Biden just told Roberts that, were Biden to vote based only on Roberts' record, he'd vote no -- but Roberts has a chance to explain his papers and his vote.
What a joke. As though Biden would even consider voting for Roberts. Biden is running for President in 2008 -- there is new WAY he would alienate the Democrats' leftist base by casting ANYTHING other than a "no" vote.
Senator Jon Kyl:
Kyl reminds his colleagues that this is not a political office. Anyone else think this is a waste of breath?
Sorry, but I think this is all merely a Kabuki-play, with no real meaning.
Senator Herb Kohl.
The Democratic line here is that they represent "the people." Funny that they seem to ignore the will of the people on so many of their policy grounds.
Senator Mike DeWine.
Sees this as a time for a conversation about the Constitution. No, really, that's what he said.
DeWine is trying to get back in the good graces of his Ohio constituency. There's a lot of red meat for the conservative base ("The Supreme Court's job is to decide cases."; etc., etc.). Anyone else think his son's primary defeat might have "put the skeer into Senator DeWine?
He also seems to think Justice Byron White was a swell guy. He refers to him quite often.
Senator Diane Feinstein.
Sorry, have to take a break first. This could get ugly.
. . .
Okay, I'm back. DiFi is apologizing in advance to Roberts' family for her being very rude.
She says there is no question that Roberts is well qualified. Then why do I have the feeling that she is going to vote against him?
Oh -- because he might take a more restrictive view of Congress' powers.
Dear Lord -- "As the only woman on the committee", DiFi feels she has a special burden and responsibility to make sure and protect women's rights and privileges.
Because, of course, none of the men on that committee give a rat's rear end about women. Only a woman can understand women's rights, and only a woman can protect said rights.
In short, DiFi thinks she is the "token female" member of the committee.
This reveals the mindset of the modern Left.
Ahh -- I'll give DiFi props for honesty. She has come out and admitted that she sees it as her responsibility to vote against any nominee who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
DiFi has gone over. Her time limit, that is.
She went over the edge of reason long ago.
Senator Jeff Sessions.
No surprise, Senator Sessions' constituents have told him they do not want activist judges who legislate from the bench.
Senator Sessions is quaint -- he wants unbiased judges who rule according to the law, rather than their own personal policy preferences.
Senator Russ Feingold.
Senator Feingold "truly does admire his record and impressive career."
BUT . . .
Senator Feingold is very concerned about whether people will consider the Senate "undignified" for investigating a nominee. Amusingly enough, he says the process "is not a game."
Tell that to your supporters, Senator Feingold. They think it is the greatest game of all.
Note: Okay -- live blogging over -- I have a conference call to attend. More tonight -- after the kids are in bed.