Alexander's Column

Kennedy questions Alito's integrity?

Mark Alexander · Jan. 13, 2006

“The best and only safe road to honor, glory, and true dignity is justice.” –George Washington

You heard it here first: Ted Kennedy, the Democrat Party mascot, is a tone-deaf alien from a distant galaxy. How else to explain his impudent inquisition into the integrity of our nation’s next Supreme Court justice, the Honorable Samuel Alito?

In Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this week, Kennedy actually asserted that the nominee’s association with a conservative Princeton alumni group two decades ago should disqualify him from a seat on the High Court.

Well, it’s not as if Judge Alito is a spoiled trust baby who got kicked out of Harvard for cheating. Nor is he a United States senator who got drunk, drove a young female campaign worker to her death, then chose not report it to authorities until the next day, and then, only after calling his lawyer, concocting an alibi and developing a strategy to contain the political fallout.

Only an extraterrestrial could wield so much power over the minds of some Bay Staters, willing them to re-elect him to the Senate in perpetuity. Perhaps they are “Manchurian constituents,” but we digress.

Looking at the spectacle of Judge Alito’s hearing, one is left to conclude that it has nothing to do with his qualifications, and everything to do with the Left’s power to implement its political and social agendas.

Judge Samuel Alito is exceptionally qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court. The ill-fated nomination of Harriet Miers notwithstanding, President George Bush’s follow-on nomination of Judge Alito is bold and brilliant.

Stepping out on a limb here – color us unimpressed by Sen. Chuck Schumer’s warnings of a filibuster – Judge Alito will be approved by a floor vote next Friday, or the following week if it takes a bit more finessing to get the good judge out for a floor vote. After all, back in 1987 when Ronald Reagan nominated Alito to be a U.S. District Attorney, Kennedy’s vote was among the Senate’s unanimous consent. And when Sam Alito was nominated for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1990, he again received Kennedy’s vote and unanimous consent from the Senate.

So what’s with all the theatrics?

First and foremost, the stage show is about political agendas, not “advice and consent” – specifically, the Left’s objection to the fact that Judge Alito is precisely what our Founders desired in a jurist – one who will interpret the plain language of our Constitution, not amend it by way of judicial diktat, as has been the practice of Leftist judicial activists for decades. That practice has all but rendered the Judiciary, in the inimitable words of Thomas Jefferson, a “Despotic Branch”.

“If confirmed,” blustered Kennedy, “Alito could very well fundamentally alter the balance of the court and push it dangerously to the right.” Sen. Hillary Rodham-Clinton (or is it just “Clinton” these days?) concurred: “The fate of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance.” Chuck Schumer added, “Alito is a controversial nominee for a pivotal swing vote on the High Court who could shift the balance of the court, and thus the laws of the nation, for decades to come.”

What balance? Just where does the Constitution specify that judges are supposed to make the laws? To borrow from its author, James Madison, we cannot undertake to lay our finger on that article of the Constitution, which states that certain Supreme Court justices are supposed to be “swing” justices.

As penned by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers, the definitive explication of our Constitution, “[T]here is not a syllable in the [Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution…”

To that end, Sam Alito insists, “Judges shouldn’t be legislators, they shouldn’t be administrators.” He has demonstrated that he’s a strict constructionist who supports states’ rights and thinks the First Amendment restricts only Congress when it comes to the Left’s sacred (read: bogus) “wall of separation” between church and state. He thinks the Second Amendment means what it says. He thinks parents know better than the government how to raise their kids. He would, we believe, return to states and local communities the decision to have prayer in their schools. He’s even approved Christmas displays by local municipalities. He has certainly not found any language in our Constitution suggesting a “right” to terminate the life of children before they are born, or that husbands – and parents in the case of minors – should not be notified before an abortion.

Indeed, Sam Alito’s philosophy will be at odds with the Left’s insistence on a “Living Constitution”. In the words of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, “Judge Alito has displayed a judicial philosophy marked by judicial restraint and respect for the limited role of the judiciary to interpret the law and not legislate from the bench.”

More to the point, Sen. Rick Santorum declared, “The only way to restore the republic our Founders envisioned is to elevate honorable jurists like Samuel Alito.” It’s not just the fate of the court that hangs in the balance; it’s the future of the Republic. Filling vacancies on the High Court with constitutional constructionists is not only President Bush’s highest domestic priority, it will likely be recorded as his greatest domestic achievement.

In the meantime, the nation will have to endure the tirades of that bloated, bloviating blunderbuss, Ted Kennedy.

Quote of the week…

“Federal judges have the duty to interpret the Constitution and the laws faithfully and fairly, to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans, and to do these things with care and with restraint, always keeping in mind the limited role that the courts play in our constitutional system. And I pledge that if confirmed I will do everything within my power to fulfill that responsibility.” –Judge Samuel Alito