Monday, January 09, 2006
The Alito Hearings
The blogosphere is finely attuned to these sorts of things, and of course I have C-SPAN on in the background, but I just can't keep my attention focused on the absurd perorations [or should that really be "pre"orations] of the congresscritters. Last night "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I entertained one of the high mucky-mucks of the ABA and his wife and got a completely different slant on the whole process, complete with fascinating tales of late night drinking sessions with Antonin Scalia.
One of the things our guest emphasized was the personal relations aspect of the job, something that public discourse seldom takes into account. He also opined that Roberts was perhaps the best qualified person in the entire legal community to take on the position of Chief Justice. He holds Alito in high regard, but finds him less impressive than Roberts on both a personal and a professional basis.
That sort of stuff fascinated "She Who Must Not Be Named" but what interested me most was our guest's ability to sort out the different classes of argument in a matter as complex as the FISA wiretaps and to place them in specific legal contexts.
It was a fun evening with wide-ranging discussions on a wide variety of topics, from poetry, to Les Brown's travesty on Tchaikovsky, to matters of constitutional history. By contrast, the formalized silliness of the Senate committee hearings [now making opening statements] is a crashing bore. But I will endeavor to endure it, simply from a sense of duty.
The guys [and girls] over at NRO's "Corner" are finding ways to lighten the burden. Right now John Podhoretz and Richard Starr are arguing over who is the most repulsive figure on the committee. They agree that Teddy Kennedy wins hands down ["on the scale of repulsiveness in general, Teddy Kennedy is so completely repulsive that you just can't compare him to anyone else"]. I agree. It's hard to imagine anyone more repulsive than the "Hero of Chappaquiddick", but they split on who is the runner-up. J-Pod argues for Specter while Starr names Schumer. As a former long-time resident of Philadelphia who has watched Specter's career from his early days as a prosecutor, I would have to go with him, although I do have to admit that Chuckles does make my stomach turn -- and what about Leahy and Biden? What a rogues gallery!
OMG! Speaking of repulsive -- Frank Lautenberg is now speaking on Alito's behalf.
I wonder if televising these things is good for the Republic. The public display of such monstrous egos can only harm the already embarrassingly low reputation of Congress, and of the courts.