Calling all Constitutional Law Professors!!!!!
There is a dire lack of Constitutional knowledge in the Senate and that needs to be corrected. How can I say this? I say this based on the build up to the beginning of today's confirmation hearings for Judge Alito.
Think I am exhaggerating? This is from Senator Leahey's (the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary committee) opening remarks today:
"No President should be allowed to pack the courts, and especially the Supreme Court, with nominees selected to enshrine presidential claims of Government power. "
The Constitution says flat out that the President was ABLE to appoint judges as openings came available. When Bill Clinton was President, he was able to put a former ACLU lawyer (Ginsberg) and a former staffer to Senator Ted Kennedy (Breyer) on the Supreme Court. Both are distinguished jurists, however, everyone knew going in exactly what their political temperment was and how it matched up with President Clinton. Why were there no concerns then about "packing the court"?
Speaking of the distinguised Senior Senator from Massachuesttes, what did Senator Kennedy have to say in his opening remarks?
"When he was before this committee in 1990, applying for a job to the circuit court, he promised under oath that he would recuse himself from cases involving Vanguard, the mutual fund company in which he had most of his investments. But as a judge, he participated in a Vanguard case anyway, and has offered many conflicting reasons to explain why he broke his word."
There is nothing in the Constitution that says one must recuse themselves from a case that involves your mutual funds, and there is even precedent to the contrary where a lower court judge ruled in a case against a different mutual fund company that the judge owned shares in (I have to look up details on the case as I just heard it on the radio).
This is what Senator Joe Biden had to say (in his opening remarks) on the Roe debate:
"The fundamental question here (ed talking about abortion rights) is will you continue to support that consensus – or will you seek to reverse it as at least two, and possibly as many as four of our sitting Justices would like to do? "
Senator Diane Feinstein said (I am looking for a link to this quote as well) that unless Judge Alito would guarantee her that he would "never touch Roe" that she would not vote for him. Excuse me Senator, you know better than that. A judicial nominee is expressly unable (the Ginsburg precident) to comment on specifics on ANY case that may come before him or her in the court!
It is depressing. These people are supposed to "know better".
Judge Alito, to his credit, promised that he had no agenda and that he would not prejudge any case coming before him. Too bad we can not say the same thing about the Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee.