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Increasingly Irrelevant, Schumer Holds Alito to a Higher Standard

Yesterday morning, while preparing for the gym, I flipped on Fox and subjected myself to a few minutes of New York’s Other Senator’s (Charles Schumer) Opening Statement in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito, Jr. Perhaps it’s not even worthwhile to comment on the remarks of this irrelevant blowhard. As Ed Whelan noted in National Review Online’s Bench Memos, given that this New Yorker “voted against Roberts and has repeatedly distorted Alito’s record, there’s no point in trying to clear the Schumer hurdle.

This Democrat seemed particularly crabby when reading his remarks, almost like a sullen child complaining to his parents that they won’t let him watch TV (even though he didn’t get the grades they required of him so he could watch TV on a school night). (Ethan thought he “looked like a baby who had a toy taken away.”) That is, Schumer seemed particularly peeved that because President Bush won re-election in 2004 and the Republicans have a majority in Congress, a Republican president gets to appoint Supreme Court justices and the Democratic minority has little chance of blocking them.

While conservatives were upset that President Clinton was elected in 1992, as far as I can recall, no Republican Senator expressed a similar attitude when that Democrat nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a judge with a very liberal record, to the Supreme Court. And this well-known advocate of “abortion rights” was tapped to fill the seat of one of the two Justices to dissent Roe v. Wade a Supreme Court decision the left treats as gospel.

In his unhappy remarks, Schumer said that:

Even under the so-called “Ginsburg precedent” – which was endorsed by Judge Roberts, Republican Senators, and the White House – you have an obligation to answer questions on topics that you have written about.

Schumer thinks that because this good judge had made “blanket statements,” supporting the overturning of Roe, he “cannot use that as a basis for not answering.” Back in 1993 when then-Judge Ginsburg (unbeknownst to her) established her eponymous precedent by not answering questions about cases on which she, as a Supreme Court Justice would be required to rule, no Republican faulted her for not answering despite her previous clearly-expressed views in favor on abortion.

Upset that they are in the minority, Democratic Senators are holding Judge Alito to a higher standard than Republican Senators held President Clinton’s nominees in the 1990s. And although they’re holding the president’s well-qualified nominee to a higher standard, they have repeatedly distorted his record. Powerline and Michelle Malkin, respectively detail how Schumer and Kennedy, two of the loudest critics of this good man, have done so. Peter Kirsanow offers a more comprehensive rebuttal of the standard Democratic mispresentation of the judge’s record (via Confirm Them).)

Instead of following the traditional Democrat tactic of distorting a well-qualified conservative record, Senate Democrats should follow the lead of Brendan Byrne, the former Democratic Governor of New Jersey who endorsed Alito:

I truly believe that he is by far the best we are going to get from this president and that it would be a grave mistake to turn him down. Those of us who would support a more liberal candidate also lost an election in 2004 and are obliged to think in that context.

Byrne’s fellow Democrats should realize, what Republicans understood in the 1990s: elections have consequences. Despite Democrats’ best efforts, President Bush was re-elected to a second term (with an increased Republican majority in the Senate) and thus gets to appoint Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court when vacancies occur.

This is not to say that Senate Democrats shouldn’t raise questions about a nominees’ qualifications. Indeed, they should. Questioning his qualifications, however, doesn’t give them license to change the rules of the game which benefited them when they were in power, but seem to work against their agenda now that they are in the minority. Further, they should honestly evaluate his record, not twist his rulings out of context nor misstate his record in order to paint him in an unfavorable light. And they should not consider filibustering (via Ace) his nomination.

Well, that is, unless Democrats want to convince the American people that, even with the Republicans’ faults, they are not competent to run Congress.

Senator Schumer should be grateful for the MSM’s liberal bias. If a conservative Senator tried to hold a Democratic Supreme Court nominee to a higher standard (than he held Republican nominees), MSM outlets across the land would castigate him for his partisan hypocrisy. But, MSM don’t pay much attention to Democratic double standards. And it seems that most conservatives are largely ignoring him* as he makes himself increasingly irrelevant.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest):

*Paul Zummo of Confirm Them having heard more of Schumer’s remarks than I, offers his thoughts here. Zummo observes the New Yorker seemed particularly fond of the word “extreme.” The folks at Powerline offer some thoughts on Schumer’s contention that the Ginsburg rule doesn’t apply to Judge Alito.

INTERESTING ADDENDUM: My junior-year college roommate finds common ground between Judge Alito & Justice Louis Brandeis.



  1. The back-and-forth is interesting and you make good points Dan.

    Having said that, my attitude is “wait and see” because of a very good point Tammy Bruce made. We have little or no idea where Alito stands on property rights or the (I think bad) Kelo decision. Sandra Day O’Connor was the Court’s most passionate dissent on Kelo. If you care about property rights / Kelo, Alito is a cipher.

    Comment by Calarato — January 10, 2006 @ 2:14 am - January 10, 2006

  2. #1

    Why should we base our decision on a hypothetical?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 10, 2006 @ 5:33 am - January 10, 2006

  3. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a judge with a very liberal record

    That’s an understatement, Ginsburg’s legal philosophy included making prisons co-ed, lowering the age of consent to 12, legalizing prostitution, and abolishing Mother’s Day. She also supports forcing businesses to adopt race-based quotas in their hiring practices… although she practiced law for more than 20 years in a city with a majority African-American population without ever hiring a single minority to work in her own office; typical left-wing hypocrite.

    Comment by V the K — January 10, 2006 @ 7:26 am - January 10, 2006

  4. Nice post Dan. I think Alito will be confirmed without anything close to the political lines crossed over ala CJ Roberts vote –and long after the troops are home, Roberts and Alito will be crafting a different W legacy into the 21st C.

    Let the silly Senators from the whacked out Left snip soundbites from their ether, purse their lips in disdain, discredit the judge’s responses to their questions by wagging their heads and tongues; it matters not.

    The Court is marching toward the Right –just not fast enough.

    The political view represented by Schumer, Kennedy, Biden, and others continue on in the minority –and will after 2006. Besides, their smears and distortions are nothing new to our country… their idol, Thos Jefferson, was a lying, deceit-filled, conniving, spurious rumor monger, hypocrite extraordinaire and gross political manipulator from the get-go. Why should we expect anything different from Jefferson’s political progeny in today’s Left?

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 10, 2006 @ 9:05 am - January 10, 2006

  5. Also, Schumer whining about replacing a “swing vote” with a conservative is so laughable. As if Chucky would be distressed if a “swing vote” were replaced by a flaming lib.

    I wonder if George Voinovich will cry like a pussy again.

    Comment by V the K — January 10, 2006 @ 9:26 am - January 10, 2006

  6. I hope you all are as SMUG when yours, OURS, gays rights are slowly chipped away. I chk into this site everyday to see how my fellow gay AMERICANS down themselves. There is NOTHING wrong with self-observation and critisizm, but its relentless on this site. Pretty soon the AFA will use this site to say “See, even the Gays think what they do is wrong” …after all the examples we’ve seen and read. BTW Schumer is a great Senator, a sincere and caring man. God forbid he should question the Repukes.

    Comment by JRC — January 10, 2006 @ 9:47 am - January 10, 2006

  7. I don’t sense enough opposition for a speedy nomination. Alito will be confirmed with about 72 votes.

    Comment by Pat — January 10, 2006 @ 10:05 am - January 10, 2006

  8. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated, I remember it being pointed out that she and Robert Bork agreed almost all of the time when deciding cases. One year it was 100%. Further, many of the decisions that Bork was being criticized for, were also concurred by Ginsberg. Just going by my memory. I only remember this, because I was rather stunned. I wonder if this really was true.

    Comment by Pat — January 10, 2006 @ 10:11 am - January 10, 2006

  9. In the last post, I meant to say when they were deciding cases while both were on the DC Court of Appeals.

    Comment by Pat — January 10, 2006 @ 10:12 am - January 10, 2006

  10. I don’t want to be pedantic, but I don’t think Chuckie can be “increasingly irrelevant,” since he’s been completely irrelevant since he was elected, and can’t really become more so.

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 10, 2006 @ 10:53 am - January 10, 2006

  11. I hope you all are as SMUG when yours

    Moonbat alert!

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 10, 2006 @ 1:24 pm - January 10, 2006

  12. #6 JRC, I tip my hand to you and your JonStewart-ish humor there… “Schumer is a great Senator” –I’ve been smiling since lunchtime at that joke. Thanks, it reminded of how far into the pocket of the DNC radicals most gays truly are…

    If you’ve caught any of the hearings –live, not soundbites from the MSM– you’d know that even Kennedy has had trouble keeping a str8 face with his questioning of Alito… and couldn’t make a coherent, rational point even with it printed in big bold print before his bloodshot, leacherous, eyes. Imagine Kennedy lecturing anyone on the law? Good God, that’s hubris which tempts God’s fury, fate’s hand or a realignment of the universe.

    No, JRC. ChuckieBoiFromNY ain’t a “great Senator” –he isn’t even a mediocre 3rd rate Senator. He’s a press pandering jerk, oppositional just for partisan sake, and he’d sell this country short if it helped him make political hay. In fact, like his political allies on the Left, he has repeatedly endangered our national security, our common political will and hazzard the US to attacks from abroad and within –while feeding at the federal trough post-9/11.

    Great senator: what a hoot. Thanks!

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 10, 2006 @ 1:26 pm - January 10, 2006

  13. LOL…..JRC, you are aware that Schumer supports stripping gays of rights via Federal legislation like DOMA (for which he voted) and bans on gay marriage, right?

    Of course, you support him doing that and praise it as “sincere and caring” when you’ve blown blood vessels over Republicans doing the same thing.

    Are you an HRC Executive Board member?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 10, 2006 @ 3:59 pm - January 10, 2006

  14. Are you aware that this so-called “good man” Samuel Alito will do well for y’all? National Association of the Deaf expressed its concerns on its website about Samuel Alito’s views on Americans with Disabilities Act.

    The ADA is an unconstitutional intrusion.

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 10, 2006 @ 4:53 pm - January 10, 2006

  15. Um, Never in #14, what exactly will Alito do for us all? I mean, the HRC/NGLTF/left-wing bluster is full of angry opposition and much misstatement. Please offer some specifics about how Alito will be bad for gay people.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — January 10, 2006 @ 7:11 pm - January 10, 2006

  16. #17
    What you wrote is affront to the humanity itself.

    I don’t see how merely thinking that the ADA is unconstitutional is worthy of your level of outrage. Any law passed by Congress is subject to the constitution no matter how noble its intention is.

    I did take a look at the NAD website. The most I could find about Judge Alito is that NAD attorneys “are not certain that Alito will uphold laws that protect individuals’ rights to participate in society”. Going back to GPW’s point in #16, can you please offer something more specific on which I can base an opinion.

    Also, I would like to know your thoughts on the recent unanimous decision by the newly headed Roberts court finding in favor of a disabled Georgia inmate suing under ADA.

    Comment by John — January 10, 2006 @ 10:57 pm - January 10, 2006

  17. Typical of the demonCRATS – when asked to name specific ideas or notions that you base your baseless opinions upon, you resort to name calling.

    O’Reilley – Letterman redux, anyone?

    And as for Chucky Schlemiel and Teddy “Waittress Sandwich” Kennedy, they should be censured for lowering the standards of the Senate. I don’t think you’d have any trouble finding 51 votes for that measure.

    Peter Hughes

    Comment by Peter Hughes — January 10, 2006 @ 11:51 pm - January 10, 2006

  18. #14 NAR I gather from your observations you think that the NAD –as one of our nation’s most Liberal “disabled peoples” advocates– feels that Alito will hurt the interests of disabled people?

    This afternoon, in the hearings, Sen Kyl of AZ offered this tidbit of refutation. Turns out that a liberal think tank judicial watch group studied the opinions of federal appeals judges and found that, on average, fed judges ruled in favor of the plantiffs on ADA issues about 13% of the time.

    Alito’s score?

    22% –he’s above average and that stat destroys the credibility of your and NAD’s position of opposition. You’re going to have to retreat to the position that LeftLibs in general don’t support him and you need to keep your membership card in the radical Left active in order to sit at their table.

    22% bucko. And that’s understanding the dynamic of the federal appeals process which places a higher likelihood of failure on the part of a disabled interests bringing forth appeals of mostly summary judgments on behalf of the defendants.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 11, 2006 @ 2:53 pm - January 11, 2006

  19. […] I always have to shake my head and smile when I get into “discussions” with liberals about the Constitution. The most recent example was after I posted several comments on another blog, and an excited (aren’t all liberals always worked up?) leftist started emailing me to continue the “discussion.” […]

    Pingback by Right Wing Nation » My New Year’s Resolution — January 12, 2006 @ 4:39 pm - January 12, 2006

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