Friday, January 13, 2006

Alito Hearings

On his final day before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito covered some new ground as senators conducted a third round of questioning. Other witnesses testified on the nomination.

Below, are some of Alito's answers to important questions posed at him.


Alito said O'Connor, whom he would replace on the court, will be remembered for her devotion to the facts of the cases that come before her. Alito said he would try to emulate "her integrity and her dedication to the case-by-case process of adjudication." Asked by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., whether he would fill O'Connor's role as a centrist on the court, Alito said he will be his own person with "whatever abilities I have and whatever limitations I have."


Alito said that had he been a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, he would have supported lifetime tenure for federal judges, which is the case now, or would have supported long terms "so that the judiciary would be insulated from being swayed by popular opinion."


Sen. Patrick Leahy D-Vt., asked Alito whether, as a courtesy, he would sign on as the required fifth person if four other justices vote to stay an execution or hear the case. Alito said that seems to be a "very sensible procedure because I think we all want to avoid the tragedy of having an innocent person executed."


On the principle that a court should adhere to principles laid down in previous decisions, Alito said courts need a special justification for overruling a prior precedent. He also said reliance on a precedent and its reaffirmation in subsequent decisions are important factors to consider. "But I've also said it's not an inexorable command," Alito added.


Kohl said that in recent years the Supreme Court, under former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, has struck down more laws than any court in recent memory. Alito responded that he would approach cases involving acts of Congress with a "heavy presumption" that they are constitutional.


Alito told Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., "I can't think of a reason" why Congress would not have the power to prohibit employment discrimination against gays and lesbians, although he said he would have to see the arguments.


Leahy brought up the controversial case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who suffered a brain injury in 1990 that left her in what some doctors called a "persistent vegetative state." Schiavo was at the center of a fierce fight between her husband and family over her fate. Leahy asked whether patients with a living will can designate somebody to speak for them "in a case of terrible injury" or unconsciousness.

"Yes, senator," Alito responded, "that's, I think, an extension of the traditional right that I was talking about that existed under common law. And it's been developed by state legislatures, and in some instances by state courts, to deal with the living will situation and with advances in ... medical technology, which create new issues in this area."

Read more here.

Alito has faced very tough questioning and done very well. The Democrats of Congress try to attack him in any way possible, but Alito has held his own. He looks like a man, capable of filling the position of a Supreme Court judge.


  • I think these hearings have been largely laughable.

    Not because of anything Alito has said but rather because it shows what arrogant morons comprise the U.S. Senate.

    The senators that are supposedly questioning Alito to learn about his beliefs and credidentials are doing all the talking. Instead of asking simple questions and listening to the answers they are lecturing him and grandstanding for the cameras. It's disgusting and makes me doubt the wisdom of democracy.

    By Blogger Rabenstrange, at 11:21 AM  

  • Did you see Ted Kennedy questioning Alito about things he said and did in his youth? Like Kennedey's youth is anything to be admired. *rolls eyes*

    By Blogger MVB, at 12:21 PM  

  • Wasn't it sad how they made his wife cry?

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 4:56 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 4:56 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 4:56 PM  

  • Yeah... it was. Poor woman, I felt sorry for her the way the Liberals were attacking her husband.

    By Blogger MVB, at 6:38 PM  

  • FYI- I saw that you started a blog on HomeschoolBlogger that just said your blog is here. HSB will delete blogs that are just unattended, though. You may want to set it up as a mirror blog, like Agent Tim and Spunky Jr. did.

    Just so you know. :)


    By Anonymous Coie Igarashi- Fellow Random One, at 10:59 AM  

  • Ok, thanks for the info! :)

    By Blogger MVB, at 1:29 PM  

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