10 January 2006

The Transcript ...

... doesn't really do it justice. Alito seemed appalled at the line of questioning. I'm still not defending him, but I can't figure out what Graham was trying to do.
GRAHAM: For those who are watching who are not lawyers, generally speaking, in all of the wars that we've been involved in we don't let the people trying to kill us sue us. Right? And we're not going to let them go at an arbitrary time period if we think they're still dangerous because we don't want to go have to shoot at them again or let them shoot at us again.

Is that a good summary of the law of armed conflict?

ALITO: I don't know whether I'd put it quite that broadly, Senator.


The precedent that you -- the Johnson v. Eisentrager, of course, has been substantially modified, if not overruled. Ex Parte Quirin, of course, is still a precedent.

There was a lower precedent involving someone who fought with the Italian army. And I can't remember the exact name of it. And that was the case that I thought you were referring to when you first framed the question.

But those are the precedents in the area. Then, if you go back to the Civil War, there's Ex Parte Milligan and a few others.

GRAHAM: We don't have to go back that far.


ALITO: Well, in this area...

GRAHAM: Well...

ALITO: ... it's actually instructive to do it.
Since no one else is really mentioning it, maybe I'm the one who's gone off the deep end here. I just found, maybe not the questions themselves, but the manner in which they were delivered, to be out of context. He was giving a stump speech. Of course, this is also the first confirmation hearing to which I've had the luxury of paying close attention, so maybe this is the way it always goes down.


Blogger Friedrich Hobbes said...

The Roberts’ interrogation was a little better, but not much. It doesn’t seem that they are even considering blocking Alito. It did seem an option with Roberts, but he was just too good. Roberts makes Alito look like a first year law student. In the Alito interrogation the best was Mr. Biden’s turn. As reported by the NY Times, “Mr. Biden… devoted most of his 30 minutes to talking, leaving little time for the nominee to speak.” This was after cleverly fooling everyone by telling us, "I understand, judge, I am the only one standing between you and lunch, so I'll try to make this painless." Despite this crap, there was some good questioning surrounding Alito’s failure to acquit himself from the Vanguard case, and his insistence that he will not need to acquit himself from a Vanguard case in the future. However, it really does seem that the senators involved are more concerned with stroking themselves in the limelight. Justice Alito… oh well.

14 January, 2006 11:30  
Blogger W A Hurd said...

Honestly, throughout the week, the only Senator who spent the majority of his allotted time asking important and relevant questions, rather than bloviating or stumping, was Sen. Feingold. Sen. Feinstein also had her moments. Biden waited over eight minutes to ask the first question of his opening "salvo," and from there continued to devote more of his time to poorly worded,rambling questions, rather than pointed questions (which, of course, Alito wouldn't have answered anyway). Sen. Leahy's final round was well done, but it seemed too little too late.
Regardless, I agree that Alito didn't exactly comport himself well at the table, but everyone knew going in that he wasn't going to be Chief Justice Charisma up there. I don't think his dodges were as artful or his circumlocutions as vague as Roberts. Sadly, he'll still be confirmed, from what I've read. Oddly, the only Senator threatening filibuster at the moment is Sen. Joe Lieberman. I could only hope more would join him, but it appears Alito will be confirmed.

14 January, 2006 11:58  

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