Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Scalitovision 2006: The hearings commence

It's been over two months since the two installments of Scalitovision 2005:

At the time, I also called for a civilized debate on the Alito nomination -- see here. I'm all for that still, whatever my growing reservations regarding Alito's suitability for the Court, and I'll have more on the hearings, including wide-ranging round-ups of reaction from around the blogosphere, as we go on.

But here, to get us started, is a characteristically thoughtful articulation of the problem with such hearings from Kevin Drum at Political Animal: "In a remarkable evolution of democracy, we have now entered an era in which candidates for the Supreme Court are allowed to glide through their hearings without once giving a straight answer about anything having to do with the laws or constitution of the United States. After all, Supreme Court justices might conceivably rule on anything in the future. It's yet another sign that the separation of powers envisioned by the founders has slowly morphed into a de facto parliamentary system — except without any of the institutional means of accountability normally built into a parliamentary system. Someday Congress is going to regret that."

Hopefully that day will come sooner rather than later. For now, Democrats -- and responsible Americans generally -- should demand straight answers from this nominee. There may be good reason to vote against the nomination given those answers, but there is certainly good reason to vote against it without them.

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