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The Week of Alito, Day 5: Professors on Parade

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Not many people will be watching much of today’s proceedings. Professors have audiences most of the time because they have attendance sheets backed by the need to pass the Bar. But they will be interesting for a variety of reasons. Here’s the first group:

Nora Demleiter, Hofstra Law
Erwin Chemerinsky, Duke Law
Anthony Kronman, Yale Law
Beth Nolan, former Counsel to President Bill Clinton
Charles Fried, Havard Law
Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard Law

This is the first of three panels of the morning, and then hearings will conclude.

Unless the Democrats break their pledge to Chairman Specter, the Committee vote will be next Tuesday, with Senate debate opening the following week. (Ed Whelan has this report on the timing of the proceedings ahead.)

Judge Alito should be Justice Alito prior to the State of the Union address.

The first panel includes weekly (and this week daily) guest on my radio program, Erwin Chemerinksy. He is also my friend, though of course Erwin hasn’t been right about a single major issue before the Court in the five plus years he has been my on air guest.

What Erwin demonstrated today is what the Senate Democrats ought to have been doing for the past four days: Focusing almost exclusively on the times in which we live, the issues they present, and their belief that Judge Alito would shift the court decisively towards deference to executive power.

Speaking without notes –Erwin is quite an advocate– he ticked off area after area where the president has used his authorty under Article II to wage war. Erwin embellished, of course, asserting for example that the president had claimed the right to torture human beings in violation of international law.

But in seven minutes he did more to establish a case for voting against Judge Alito than did the Democratic senators in their hours and hours of blather.

Erwin has admitted on the program this week that Judge Alito is “a good man,” even as he tried to credit the Senate Democrats with some purpose in digging their holes with CAP and Vanguard.

But with his limited time Erwin used his gifts to target one area, and had the Senate Democrats pursued such a strategy, this week would have been an interesting and useful to the public conversation about the GWOT and the role of the president, the Congress and the courts. Senate Democrats may have feared making explicit their ideological objections to the conduct of the war, but had they had the courage of their convictions, the public would have been served.

Even the anti-Alito witnesses are demonstrating the bankrupt approach of the Democrats, ending a week diminished by their tactics, and now rebuked by the lefty intellectuals and activists whose approval they crave.


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