Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Open-mindedness in the Senate

I've commented before, and I will again, about what an embarassment Senator Kennedy, my senior Senator, is. It's telling when you can say, honestly, as I can, that John Kerry is the less loathsome of my US Senators. But one of the things that's most comical is Senator Kennedy sitting in judgement on judicial candidates. I predict that some time in the next couple of weeks, Senator Kennedy will take to the floor of the US Senate and make a speech on the Alito nomination that will include a passage something like this:
...He did not commit himself to a standard for sex discrimination that is at least as exacting as the standard currently used by the Court to invalidate many gender-based laws. Thus, there is significant doubt that Judge Alito will apply a sufficiently rigorous constitutional standard to make protection against sex discrimination a meaningful constitutional right for the women of America....Judge Alito refused to reveal whether he believed there is any fundamental privacy right outside the marital relationship....In fact, Judge Alito's reluctant comments, while ambiguous, suggest that, in fact, he takes an excessively restrictive view of the right to privacy, and that he is likely to side with the Justices on the Court who are prepared to overrule Roe versus Wade, or leave it as a hollow shell...I am troubled that if Judge Alito joins the current closed divided Supreme Court, he will solidify a 5-to-4 anticivil rights, antiprivacy majority inclined to turn back the clock on the historic progress of recent decades. If so, literally millions of our fellow citizens will be denied their rights as Americans to equal opportunity and equal justice under law...To a large extent, in spite of the hearings we have held, the Senate is still in the dark about this nomination. And all of us are voting in the dark. The lesson of the past decade of the Senate's experience in confirming justices to the Supreme Court, is that we must vote our fears, not our hopes. If nominees do not meet the test of demonstrating a convincing good-faith, in-depth, abiding commitment to the core constitutional values of the kind so obviously at stake at this turning point in our history. They can--and should--be rejected by the Senate. To apply a lesser standard is to fail our own constitutional responsibility in the confirmation process. In my view, Judge Alito does not meet that test. In good conscience, I cannot support this nomination.

Just so we can evaluate Senator Kennedy's judgement on these matters, his "open-mindedness" on the issue of judicial nominations, those are the actual words of Senator Edward Kennedy, with only the name changed, on the nomination of ... David Souter. As we now know, Justice Souter is no one's idea of a judicial conservative. Senator Kennedy was wrong on every aspect of Souter's candidacy. What he knew was that Souter was nominated by a Republican president, which automatically made him a sexist, a racist, a fascist.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - Kennedy is an embarassment to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he's an embarassment to the Democratic party, he's an embarassment to the Senate, and he's an embarassment to every citizen of the United States of America.

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