Thursday, January 12, 2006

Niceties Not Necessary

I’ve seen a few Supreme Court nomination hearings now, and there’s one aspect of them (apart from the Q-but-often-not-A) that frustrates me.

I’ll call it the “warm and fuzzy” aspect.

The first day of the Alito hearings is a great example.

The US Senate Judiciary Committee spent the entire first day making opening statements. These typically consist of each committee member touting the nominee’s impressive resume, reminiscing about prior professional interactions with them, and generally kissing ass.

The ranking members of each party should each make an opening statement, during which they can say anything they like. Then, down to business. No wasting an entire day as part of such an important process.

Some niceties provide an unnecessary distraction in the proceedings.

The Supreme Court nominee hearing is essentially a job interview. Why do nominees get to bring their families along?

True, most job interviews aren’t broadcast live on TV. But in this case, the employer is the American people.

Yesterday’s unfortunate incident of Mrs. Alito becoming emotional over a line of questioning from Republicant Senator Lindsey Graham could have been avoided had she not been sitting behind her husband for hours of tough questioning.

That incident also could have been avoided had Alito simply answered the question about his membership in CAP honestly instead of pulling an “Iran-Contra.” Alito’s assertion that he does not remember being a member of that organization, or why he might have been in it, is not credible.

Scratch that. It’s a goddamn lie, no question.

Interesting, some media outlets as well as politicos like Utah Republicant Senator Orrin Hatch have sought to blame the emotional incident on Democrats, even though it happened in response to a Republicant’s questioning.

Said Hatch: “She's sick and tired of the mistreatment of her husband.”

Another goddamn lie.

(There’s a scene in A Clockwork Orange in which a reformed Alex returns home to find his room occupied by a lodger called “Joe.” Not wanting to lose his room, Joe goes on and on about what a bad boy Alex was, and how he doesn’t deserve such good parents. As Alex’s mother begins to cry, Joe says, “Now look what you've gone and done to your mother.”)

When it comes to Supreme Court nominee hearings, we need to focus less on the niceties and more on getting to the truth.

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