Wednesday, January 11, 2006

John Podhoretz explains why Alito is going to be confirmed. His opponents are just too dopey and can't lay a glove on him.
In the course of Biden's questioning, Alito spoke for maybe four or five minutes, while Biden ran on for 25. This is not how you defeat a formidable adversary.

Nor do you defeat a smart and sober judge like Alito by looking down at a list of questions and reading through them as though you were a court stenographer asked to read back someone else's testimony. That's what Herb Kohl, the Wisconsin Democrat, did. Absurdly.

And you don't defeat a clever and substantive judge like Alito by archly demanding to know why on earth he would rule that it would be acceptable to strip-search a 10-year-old, as both Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ted Kennedy of Chappaquiddick (oops, sorry, Massachusetts) did. Because when you do so, you give Alito the opportunity to knock one out of the park against you, as Alito did:

"Senator," Alito said to Leahy, "I wasn't happy that a 10-year-old was searched. Now, there wasn't any claim in this case that the search was carried out in any sort of an abusive fashion. It was carried out by a female officer . . . [But] I don't think there should be a Fourth Amendment rule . . . that minors can never be searched. Because if we had a rule like that, then where would drug dealers hide their drugs? That would lead to greater abuse of minors."

In your face, Pat Leahy.

In any case, as Alito also explained, the search of the 10-year-old wasn't the issue his court had been asked to adjudicate. The court was seeking to determine how far the search warrant in the case extended.

Over the course of hours and hours of testimony, the calm and measured Alito sat as he was hectored, badgered and lectured by senators who seemed far less capable of making reasoned judgments than the man whose nomination the Constitution requires them to judge.

To defeat Alito, they'd have to be his equal. Instead, they came across as his intellectual and temperamental inferiors.

If I were a Democrat, I'd be sickened by the inability of my party's leaders to figure out how to argue with a conservative jurist.

On the other hand, if I were a Democrat and heard just how incompetently my party's leaders were able to conduct an argument with a conservative jurist, I might start listening more intently and with more respect to the ideas of the conservative jurist. Like John Roberts before him, Alito has the better of the argument.

That might be because they have the better arguments.