Barring the unforeseen, Judge Samuel Alito will win confirmation to the Supreme Court. His confirmation will prove a major moment in the history of the American judiciary. It also will highlight one of the ideological culture's last abiding discriminations.
The run-up to the Alito vote featured these markers:
Tom-toms sounding the beat as to the need for more "moderates" on the Supreme Court. The creation of a D.C. industry of computer-bound researchers to comb the record of any court nominee for the merest sign of ideological deviation from a stipulated leftist norm. The nomination - and subsequent confirmation - of John Roberts as chief justice, amid leftist caterwauling that his record was thin.
Subsequent lament that - so unfairly - Harriet Miers presented with no record at all. The nomination of Judge Alito, a man possessing a more voluminous record than that of any court nominee in seven decades. And the complaints, first regarding Judge Roberts and then Judge Alito, that (a) key elements of their records were withheld by a devious White House, (b) the records at hand contained insufficient evidence of right-wing lunacy, and (c) Judges Roberts and Alito were themselves devious and unscrupulous and certainly not forthcoming in their responses to certain questions from distinguished leftist senators who detest the nominees' ideological guts.
Keep in mind these things as well: (1) The American left has lost Congress and the White House, and desperately has sought to retain at least a toe-hold in the government's third branch; (2) The word "liberal" having been culturally stigmatized - its positive use almost extirpated from the language - leftists have co-opted such words as moderate, centrist, middle-of-the-road, and mainstream for their own self-descriptive proprietary use. And (3) the ideologization of too many law schools has followed the pattern first established in, for example, the academy, the church, entertainment, and the press - as stipulated on the shingle: Conservatives need not apply.
That is the irreducible datum in the Roberts and Alito hearings.
The left deemed Robert Bork neither unbright nor uncredentialed, but too conservative. Ditto Clarence Thomas. Ditto in the gravamen of the continuing complaints about him and Justice Antonin Scalia. President Bush has pledged to nominate individuals in the Thomas-Scalia mold. Roberts and Alito are. That is why their nominations have sent loyal leftists everywhere screaming around the bend.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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