Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Justice Sam Alito
Can you imagine having to undergo these vicious attacks and snide insinuations (the worst were from Kennedy, Feinberg, and Schumer)? In front of your wife and children? In front of your friends and relatives? In front of your neighbors and colleagues? In front of the whole world?
Why would anyone subject themselves to this kind of character assasination and public humiliation? Why should anyone be forced to undergo this? It is fair to question whether a person has the necessary abilities to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. It is fair to assess their honesty, their integrity, their knowledge of the constitution, their impartiality, and their overall sense of right and wrong. Once you are assured of this, however (and who could still be doubting Sam Alito after the first morning's interrogation?) then you must step back, admit you are dealing with a good person, and then thank him for being willing to serve.
Today the democrats' questions became insulting, rude, crass, and profoundly disrespectful to a decent man who will most likely wind up with a prestigious career as a distinguished, well-respected, well-liked, and renowned Justice. What did Sam Alito do to deserve this treatment?
The democrats should be ashamed of themselves. If you are an elected official, you have to play politics to survive. The better you are at it, the further you advance. On the other hand, if you are a judge the better you are at being fair and impartial, the further you should advance. That means being willing to hear both sides of every issue before forming your opinion.
Imagine a Senator of either party doing that instead of trying to figure out what's in it for them, and how they can look good as a result of it! Whereas we want our Supreme Court Justices to be impartial and not to take sides until they have heard all the evidence. Who thinks that the demos had not already taken sides before any one of them had even met the man personally, or had a chance to hear him speak, or read any of his writings?
Here's where the two systems of government service ultimately clash. Start with the worst of the worst politicians, (many of whom are using the process to advance their own personal agendas) and then turn them loose like a pack of hyenas on a decent man who has been honored by being proposed to the highest court in the land.
If this is allowed to go unchecked, why should we expect our best judges to be willing to go through this kind of inquisition in the future? If we want an impartial judiciary, one that stands equal to the executive and legislative branches, we need to stand up as citizens and demand that our elected legislative branch keep their own gottcha brand of politics out of this profoundly important process of appointing a judge to the Supreme Court.
This approval process is one of the few occasions when all three branches of government are intersecting like this. One of the only other times is when an impeached president is put on trial. Even then, we all expect that the presiding Chief Justice will remain fair and impartial. But if this is how we treat our candidates for that job - especially those who are trying to score points with their followers on the back of the process - why would any member of congress expect that they are really doing themselves or their constituents or their country any good when they use this august occasion to trash the reputation of a man who could very likely be one day presiding over that other process with them in the hot seat? Would they try to disqualify him because he might harbor some prejudice against them for their treatment of him during the concurrence process.
Here's one where they just have to admit they don't have a case, that they have been presented with an outstanding candidate whom they can't complain about any more than they could complain about Justice Roberts, and then go ahead and fulfill their own constitutional obligations. After that they can go back to their political games. No one is saying they have to vote for or against Judge Alito, only that their role in this process now is to go ahead and take the vote!
The more I watched him, the more I admired him.