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Wizbang Podcast #4

Here are today's topics:

  1. The Murtha/Moran Love Fest is Interrupted
  2. Prelude to the Alito Hearings
  3. The First Day's Bloviations

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The Murtha/Moran Love Fest is Interrupted

C-SPAN covered a town meeting with Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) in Arlington, VA. It was 99 and 44/100th's percent pure Democratic love fest. But there were two real human beings in attendance, who had an opportunity to talk about something other than "Bush Lied, people died" and the Downing Street Memos. Thanks to Michelle Malkin for finding the video. These clips were taken from C-SPAN. Michelle Malkin points to the Mudville Gazette, who had this to say:

Most of Murtha and Moran's talking points from this event are from 2003-2004 - not enough armor, Abu Ghraib was a result of poor training, troops aren't getting medical care, only poor people join the army - we've debunked them all here over the past several months. As the Post noted, MoveOn.org sent e-mails to opponents of the war urging the faithful to attend. And although several Iraq war veterans turned activist made the long trek to cheer him on, an actual "local vet" also made an appearance.
Here are three clips from the meeting. Two were recommended by Mudville and Michelle. Another one up front, taken from the opening of the session, has cheering from the faithful MoveOn.Org crowd, who came out in droves to hear their heroes bloviate.

Play clip.

These town meetings were with Democratic congressmen in Democratic districts, so the vast majority of the conversations were echo chambers of Democratic talking points. I salute the courage of the speakers on that clip for being willing to challenge the conventional wisdom, or lack thereof, in the room. PowerLine blog had this to add about Moran's refusal to respond to Seavey:

Confusing himself with the host of Jeopardy, Moran responded: "That wasn't in the form of a question, it was in the form of a statement." Perhaps Moran can find his true calling as a game show host.
Just call him the cut and run congressman.

Prelude to the Alito Hearings

Kevin Aylward at Wizbang had this to say about the hearings that started today:

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito begin today on the Hill. Democrats have been making noise about delaying or filibustering the eventual vote, but new polling indicates that the public overwhelmingly supports the Alito nomination. The numbers are right in line with those Chief Justice Roberts had at the same point, and as much as the far left may despair the whole process is loaded up to go just as smoothly for Alito.

From the story on the ABC News/Washington Post poll:

Six in 10 Americans plan to tune in to the Senate confirmation hearings that start today for Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito, and his supporters continue to outnumber his opponents by about a 2-1 ratio.

Fifty-three percent of Americans want the Senate to confirm Alito to the Supreme Court, 27 percent oppose his confirmation, and 20 percent are undecided. Support for Alito has not changed substantially from when his nomination was first announced in late October; in terms of public sentiment, he's in about the same position as John Roberts was at the opening of his hearings to become chief justice.

Interest in the Alito hearings is also in line with early interest in the Roberts' nomination: Sixty percent plan to pay close attention to the Senate proceedings, with about one in five saying they'll be following them "very closely." Among the reasons people are likely to tune in is to hear what, if anything, Alito may say about abortion-rights cases, particularly the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Direct of Judge Alito probably won't begin until Tuesday.

The First Day's Bloviations

Mark Levin on the Corner of National Review Online had this to say about some of the Senator's opening remarks:

I hope those observing today's Alito hearings will pay at least as much attention to what Alito says in response to questioning as to the predictable idiocy of many of the questioners. There are serious problems with the substance and consistency of the premises of those who reject an originalist interpretation of the Constitution.

Arlen Specter and Chuck Schumer are full of contradictions. They speak of the Court following precedent (even super-duper precedent) when they support a line of cases, particularly respecting abortion. Of course, Roe v. Wade was nothing more than a concoction of the policy preferences of seven justices. And which precedents are we to follow? In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court upheld segregation. Fifty-eight years later, in Brown v. Board of Education, the Court began unraveling Plessy. In Bowers v. Hardwick, the Court upheld state sodomy laws. Seventeen years later, in Lawrence v. Texas, the Court ruled state sodomy laws are unconstitutional. There are myriad examples of this kind of rejection of precedent. With what convolutions of logic do they square their supposed reverence for precedent with these cases?

Then we get their argument for a "living Constitution." Justice Stephen Breyer calls it "active liberty." The late Justice William Douglas invented the phrase (shorthand) "emanations from penumbras." These phrases are nothing more than arguments for rejecting the Constitution. And they represent the antithesis of precedent, i.e., anything goes.

Specter and Schumer have also argued that the Court needs to have respect for the proper roles the different branches of government play. But here, too, they are result-oriented. In 2000, in Stenberg v. Carhart, the Court struck down Nebraska's ban on partial birth abortion. You won't hear Specter or Schumer criticize this judicial usurpation of a state legislature because they support partial birth abortion.

I am hopeful that one, or perhaps more, conservative Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee will use the occasion of the Alito hearings to expose the absolute bankruptcy of the Left's arguments, and its effort to institutionalize its political and policy agenda through the Court.

Edward Kennedy's remarks egregiously misrepresented the Alito record. As Michelle Malkin noticed:

Just had to comment quickly on the pathetic Democrat attempts to put Judge Alito in a KKK hood. Teddy (You say "Alito," I say "Alioto") Kennedy claimed this morning:
In an era when America is still too often divided by race and by riches, Judge "Alioto" has not written one single opinion on the merits in favor of a person of color alleging race discrimination on the job. In fifteen years on the bench, not one.
This is, as the Committee for Justice outlines, complete bull. Alito's civil rights record:
Judge Alito repeatedly has ruled for plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases when the law calls for such outcomes.

* In Zubi v. AT&T Corp., 219 F.3d 220 (3d Cir. 2000), Judge Alito dissented from the majority's holding that a man who claimed he was fired because of his race could not sue in federal court. According to Judge Alito, the plaintiff was entitled to sue because a longer statute of limitations applied. The Supreme Court later vindicated Judge Alito's dissent. See Jones v. Donnelly & Sons Co., 541 U.S. 369 (2004).

* In Goosby v. Johnson & Johnson Medical, Inc., 228 F.3d 313 (3d Cir. 2000), a race and sex discrimination case, Judge Alito reversed the district court's decision to grant summary judgment to the defendant employer. The Third Circuit ruled that the plaintiff, a black woman, had introduced enough evidence to call into doubt the employer's explanation for why she was given lower-quality assignments.

There are a dozen more cases like that which show the Alito voting in favor of "people of color". Now it appears that since Alito did not write those opinions, they don't count. From Byron York in the Corner on National Review Online we read:

ALITO AND RACE, PT. 2 [Byron York]

From the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, an e-mail on Ted Kennedy's statement that "Judge Alito has not written one single opinion on the merits in favor of a person of color alleging race discrimination on the job." "The operative word here is 'written,'" the e-mail says. So it appears that the Kennedy argument is not that Alito has not voted in favor of minority rights in cases of persons of color alleging race discrimination on the job -- Republicans have cited four cases in which that happened -- but that he has not written those opinions.

Of course, Kennedy was expecting that everyone listening to his bloviation would ignore the distinction between voting and writing. His disingenuousness was not limited to this. He also quotes Cass Sunstein's analysis of Alito's opinions, and says that 84% of his "dissents" favored corporations over "the little guy". How many of his concurring opinions? No mention of that, since it does not help his misrepresentation of the nominee's record. Listen to this clip, from C-SPAN, where he mispronounces the name of the nominee, while mischaracterizing his record.

Play clip.

I'm no fan of Kennedy, but this string of misrepresentations has to be the peak of his splashy career.

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Comments (1)

Kennedy's slip was not simp... (Below threshold)

Kennedy's slip was not simply racist but may have been Freudian. Look up a character named Joe Alioto. He was a teamster big wig, political banker, Mayor of SF and all around shady figure back in the day. In the late sixties and seventies Joe Alioto was a close Kennedy operative and figured into Chapaquitic. Hmmm.....

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