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January 14, 2006

The Dems are stunned about Alito

The New York Times paints a marvelous picture of the Democrats' bewilderment and frustration at their utter inability to stop the Alito nomination -- and, more ominously for the fevered swamps of the Left, their inability to derail the rightward trend in the federal courts.

You have to read the article. As Bugs Bunny might say, "It is to laugh."

Here's the beginning of the article:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 - Disheartened by the administration's success with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., Democratic leaders say that President Bush is putting an enduring conservative ideological imprint on the nation's judiciary, and that they see little hope of holding off the tide without winning back control of the Senate or the White House.

In interviews, Democrats said that the lesson of the Alito hearings was that this White House could put on the bench almost any qualified candidate, even one whom Democrats consider to be ideologically out of step with the country.
What a shock! A qualified candidate can get on the court!

And slowly, it's dawning on the Dems that they have to get elected! They have to win the presidency and Senate seats. Well, excuse me for this profound remark, but DUH!
"They have made a lot of progress," said Ronald A. Klain, a former Democratic chief counsel for the Judiciary Committee and the White House counsel in charge of judicial nominations for President Bill Clinton. "I hate to say they're done because Lord only knows what's next. They have achieved a large part of their objective."

Asked if he had any hope that Democrats could slow President Bush's effort to push the court to the right, Mr. Klain responded: "No. The only thing that will fix this is a Democratic president and more vacancies. It takes a long time to make these kinds of changes and it's going to take a long time to undo them."

Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said it was now hard to imagine a legislative strategy that could slow Mr. Bush's judicial campaign, assuming vacancies continue to emerge, at least through the end of this year.

"To stop a president on judicial nominations, you either need a Democratic president, a Democratic Senate or moderate Republicans who will break ranks when it's a conservative nominee," Mr. Schumer said. "We don't have any of those three. The only tool we have is the filibuster, which is a very difficult tool to use, and with only 45 Democrats, it's harder than it was last term."
It's dawning even on Chuckie Schumer. And more evidence that the Dems have no idea what they're doing -- they listen to any idiots who have a law degree:
The Democratic push began in earnest on the last weekend of April 2001, when 42 of the 50 Democratic senators attended a retreat in Farmington, Pa., to hear from experts and discuss ways they could fight a Bush effort to remake the judiciary.

"There were very few principles on which we could all agree," said Mr. Daschle, who was Senate minority leader at the time of the meeting. "But one was that we anticipated that the administration would test the envelope. They were going to go as far as the envelope would allow in appointing conservative judges."

At the 2001 retreat, Democrats listened to a panel composed of Laurence H. Tribe of Harvard Law School, Cass R. Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School and Marcia D. Greenberger, the co-president of the National Women's Law Center. The panelists told them that the court was at a historic juncture and that the Bush White House was prepared to fill the courts with conservatives who deserved particularly strong scrutiny, participants said.

The panel also advised them, participants said, that Democratic senators could oppose even nominees with strong credentials on the grounds that the White House was trying to push the courts in a conservative direction, a strategy that now seems to have failed the party.

Mr. Tribe said Friday that Democrats were increasingly discouraged in their efforts to mount opposition campaigns. "When it comes down to it, the numbers of Democrats means that it begins to feel to some like tilting at windmills," he said.
And then here's Teddy Kennedy:
"These issues are so sophisticated - half the Senate didn't know what the unitary presidency was, let alone the people of Boston," he said, referring to one of the legal theories that was a focus of the hearings. "I'm sure we could have done better."
Are we serious here? Half the Senate didn't know what the "unitary executive" doctrine is? Well, I guess if Dana Milbank of the Post thinks it's an "obscure philosophy," that shouldn't be a surprise.