Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Happy Alito Day Eve

Tomorrow is Alito day at the Senate. Given my profession, and my interests in law and the Constitution, I'll be paying close attention to the proceedings. I don't have much of a chance to blog during the day, but I'll do my best to provide summaries and commentary every night.

This is, of course, potentially a moment of enormous significance. But the reason it's only "potentially" enormous is because regardless of what happens to Alito, the numbers the conservatives are looking for won't be in place yet. On the "solidly conservative" side of the bench we've got Thomas, Scalia and, I submit, Alito. Roberts may or may not be on that side, but he's so far not given much evidence one way or the other.* We've still got the unholy triumvirate, Breyer, Souter and Ginsburg on the entrenched left, with Kennedy and Stevens who can't seem to decide what they believe. If -- and only if -- Roberts turns out to be the conservative he was packaged as, and if Stevens retires (he's in his 80s), and if -- and only if -- Stevens is replaced with a conservative, will the Court actually have the solid and reliable votes it needs to be a "conservative" court.

* Roberts has authored one opinion as Chief Justice, a unanimous case involving attorney's fees in federal removal cases. If you don't understand what that last sentence means, you're in good company; it's the kind of cases that only practicing attorneys will ever care about, and it's not the least bit politically-charged or politically-indicative. That should be especially clear because it was a unanimous opinion. That said, having read that opinion I was impressed with his approach. He was very focused on the text, rather than with determining the outcome and then finding the textual support he needed. I believe that bodes well for his conservative bona fides.

More from CNN and Drudge, the latter in hyper-sensationalistic Drudge style.