10 January 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen ...

Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The esteemed gentleman from the Palmetto State is either torpedoing his own SCOTUS nominee or falling on the grenade to make said nominee look more liberal than should be expected. Alito looks downright uncomfortable with Graham's insistence that there should be no judicial recourse for enemy combatants, either US citizens or foreign nationals. He's cringing with the end of every question.

Graham is absolutely coming off, to me, as a total wingnut who thinks there are no differences between the GWOT and WWII while Alito is defending Hamdi and, if Graham would let him, Milligan. Now, I can only see two options here:

1. Graham doesn't care how this effects Alito's confirmation. He's got a stage and a mostly captive audience and he's going to use it however he wants. Given that Graham is batshit, this isn't necessarily unlikely.

2. He's intentionally camping on the extreme right and articulating a doctrine that's so utterly indefensible that it alters the perception of Alito's answers. In fact, I found myself at one point saying You're damned right, Sammy! Tell him! This would be an ingeneous play, and contains just enough smoke and mirrors that it would be impossible to prove. As I said before, Graham is batshit crazy, so anything's possible. I would say this is likely, but I don't think Graham would be the Senator to do it --- both Kyl and Cornyn are more likely to pull it off.

Once I find a transcript posted, I'll comb through it and post some of the best exchanges. Sadly, however, I doubt that they'll include [awkward pause] and [deep sigh].

UPDATE: John Aravosis thinks Graham's just evil, like the rest of the Rs in town.
UPDATE 2: I wasn't saying that Hamdi was good law or that I'm glad Alito was defending it ... I just ... umm ... I hope it will make sense when I post the transcript, otherwise I'll look like a tool.

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