Monday, October 31, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Althouse notes the “Scalito” thing:

I welcome hearing something more substantial about the man than that people call him “Scalito” to signify his similarity to Scalia and because his last name is similar enough to Scalia that people just can’t hear “Alito” without wanting to say “Scalito.”

Indeed to all of that.

She also considers Alito “a Stronger Choice than John Roberts”. She does so at least partially on the predicate that he has a long record that makes him a non-mystery.

Along those lines, it occurred to me as I was driving in and listening to the coverage, that if Alito does make it through the process, that perhaps the perceived need to appoint persons with short paper trails (that started post-Bork) will go the way of the dinosaur, which is where it belongs. We should all be big enough boys and girls to handle a candidate who has a true public record. The Supreme Court should not be the domain of the stealthy. Indeed, it was the perceived need for such stealth that did, at least in part, lead to the Miers nomination. Perhaps Miers, by being the anti-Bork is so many ways, will have set in motion a correction that has been needed in the system for almost twenty years, i.e., a return to the ability of presidents to appoint candidates with lengthy and distinguished records.

Of course, if Alito goes down in flames, we will go back to looking for judicial tabula rasas, I guess.

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10 Responses to “Althouse Reacts (and Some Thoughts by Me)”

  1. The Moderate Voice Says:

    Bush Nominates Solidly Conservative Nominee To Supreme Court: The Big Battle Begins? (UPDATED)

    President George Bush has nominated conservative judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court — giving conservatives the kind of judge they hoped they were going to get after …

  2. Fruits and Votes Says:

    Hamilton and Alito: Extraordinary circumstances?

    Can Democrats mobilize against a nominee who is so clearly better on one dimension (qualifications), even if he is worse for them on the other dimension (ideology)?

  3. Terry Says:

    You are such a cock-eyed optimist!

    It will do no such thing. It will merely demonstrate that when a Republican President has a majority in the Senate, THEN he will not need stealthy nominees.

    We already know that is true post-Bork for Democrats, since neither Breyer nor R.B. Ginsburg were particularly stealthy nominees and were approved overwhelmingly.

  4. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    You raise a legitimate point: and that is that the standard for Republican nominees has been different in the post-Bork era than for Democratic nominees.

  5. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    And “cock-eyed optimist”?

    I can honestly say I have nevr been called that before.

  6. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    And really, the issue is that it should be obvious that any president who enjoys a majority of his party in the Senate should be able to avoid stealth.

  7. eric Says:

    agreed. …. i view the supreme court as the pinnacle of jurisprudence. Therefore, only the most qualified should be allowed to sit. Lengthy records is a part of a qualified judge…And yet something has been gnawing at me today about all the uproar over Alito.

    If, in the words of the administration at least, a judge is supposed to be merely an interpreter of the law, why should he have an ideology at all? If Albito is as conservative as I’m hearing, wouldn’t he represent a very very bad choice, simply because he has a strong ideology? IOW, how could he be just an interpreter if he has hardened, preconceived notions of how laws should be interpreted?

    The answer shouldn’t surprise, its because judges aren’t just interpreters. No one should even think they are. By interpreting a law, you dictate how that law will be enforced and judicated in the future. And therefore you dictate the effective reality of the law. They are therefore … lawmakers.

    So I say, let us treat them like lawmakers. Let the president appoint them, but give them strict term limits. Maybe 4 years. No renewal.

    By doing this we’ve eliminated two problems. First the hardening of poitical lines due to the length of influence a sitting justice has. Why worry, in 5 years they’ll be gone and we’ll get our guy in there next.

    Second, we’ll stop fooling ourselves that justices are just interpreters. They’re lawmakers.

    There. Now if everyone just listened to that, we wouldn’t have to dominate the news for the next 2 months with this. We could actually get around to reporting stuff that is truly in need of fixing.

  8. Terry Says:

    “And “cock-eyed optimist”?

    I can honestly say I have nevr been called that before.”

    Should have been a smiley face after that. I meant to put one there, but I plead a cranky 4-year old with a 101 degree fever as extenuating circumstances

    “And really, the issue is that it should be obvious that any president who enjoys a majority of his party in the Senate should be able to avoid stealth.”

    Agreed, although we should probably modify “majority” with the words “safe” or “solid,” as all majorities are not created equal.

    The statement in the post seemed to convey the idea that this dinosaur would’nt just go away in this particular circumstance (Prez w/solid Senate majority), but in all circumstances (i.e., Prez with weak majority or even a minority). Hence my assessment of it as optimistic.

  9. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    I will wholly concur that my statement need further work. One of the dangers of blogging is that thoughts presented to the public are often still in their inchoate form.

  10. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    and sorry to hear about the fever-ridden 4-year-old. Not fun.

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