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The mantra that "a President is entitled to his nominee" will be repeated many times as Senators decide how to cast their votes .  The premise stems from the notion that it is he who has a vested appointment power, and that the Senate should accord the President a high degree of deference when he makes he choice.

The question is this: Does this theory of entitlement prevail when the President has abused the trust of the American people?

Here is a President who has misled our Nation into war, abrogated the laws duly enacted by Congress, and violated our constitutional and civil rights. He's drudged through scandal after scandal, but has yet to be held accountable. Where is Phase II of the pre-war intelligence investigation? Where is the outrage over the fact he nullified Congress' ban on torture? He violated his oath to protect the Constitution when he issued his royal edict to spy on us outside the law.  Yet who will him responsible? A Republican Congress?

The President, exhibiting the theory of the unitary executive that Alito endorses, has snubbed the legislative and judicial branches of government and has declared himself above the law. And now, Senators will claim with straight face that he is entitled to his nominee?

The man is entitled to nothing from the Congress he has abused and misled. The man is entitled to nothing from the American people he has betrayed. It is us, the citizens of this country, who are entitled to the truth. And until we receive that truth, this nominee should not pass.

To let Alito sail through without a fight is to reward the President for his illegal and immoral behavior.  He has been rewarded enough. It's time the President learns he cannot abuse the public trust without consequence.

This unorthodox approach to the filibuter, I know, will not be embraced by many Democrats, especially those who already think filibustering is off the table. But to those Democrats, I ask you the following.  Imagine if, during the height of Lewinsky scandal, a vacancy occured on the Supreme Court. Does anyone honestly believe the Republicans would passively state that President Clinton was "entitled to his nominee"? Or would they spit fire and raise hell and refuse to give him any deference at all?

When the President commits an impeachable offense, the deference traditionally accorded to his judgment should cease to exist. A President who has betrayed the American people should not be entitled to the rubber-stamping of his nominees. Instead, the Senate should refuse to consider Alito's nomination until the President comes clean to the American people.

Let us examine the conduct of this Presidency first. Let him or his royal court take to the stand during the domestic spying hearings and defend their actions. Let us see whether he is still entitled to the presumption that the President acts in the best interests of the American people. Only then can a Senator make the decision of entitlement.  To do otherwise--to confirm Alito without first confirming whether the President violated the Constitution--is tantamount to appointing a jester to the King's Court.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:05 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's one way to do it (none)
     My own temprament tends to lead more to gloves being thrown. Either way is acceptable, though, if it leads to the filibuster.

    I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

    by Anderson Republican on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:07:04 AM PST

  •  The man is entitled (4.00)
    to a fair impeachment trial.
  •  ooooo, she's good! (none)
    Can we sneak goergie10 into the next gaggle?  Give Helen the day off, she deserves it.

    We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

    by Fabian on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:08:42 AM PST

  •  The President is entitled (4.00)
    and in fact is authorized by the Constitution to nominate individuals to certain posts, pending the advice and consent of the Senate.

    If the Senate does not consent, which means to give assent, as to the proposal of another; to agree, to be of the same mind or opinion, then there that nominee does not take the post.

    "The problem is that power corrupts, and we simply have too much of it." Rep. Jeff Flake (R- AZ) We Can Change That.

    by Delaware Dem on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:08:52 AM PST

    •  As George Washington put it: (none)
      "Just as the President has a right to nominate without assigning reasons, so has the Senate a right to dissent without giving theirs."

      And Washington had reason to know, his nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Rutledge, was voted down by the Senate based on his ideology, despite the fact he was clearly qualified for the position as a former Govenor of South Carolina, a signer of the Constitution, and as a sitting S.Ct. Justice.

    •  Text (none)
      To all  the strict constructionists out there: what part of advise and consent do you not understand?
  •  That's a line that has consistently (4.00)
    pissed me off.  Certain positions, like SC judges, the AG, and like that are there for all of us.  The SC is not the president's court.  THe AG is not the president's attorney.

    If I had even a small belief that this president was working to represent all of us, I'd be a damn sight more willing to cut him slack on his choices.  But every damned time he does something, it's hurtful to large portions of the American people.

    I still feel that he is NOT my president.

    -9.25, -7.54

    Yikes. Good thing I don't have guns.

    by Marc in KS on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:09:06 AM PST

    •  Agreed (none)
      He is also NOT my president.  He's a criminal who happens to be disturbed and sick.
    •  Maybe for cabinet positions (none)
      the President is entitled to appoint (and get confirmed?) people with whom he can work.  At least the cabinet goes out when the president leaves office.  

      Federal judicial appointments are for life.  As Armando says, the Supreme Court is extraordinary.

      We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on my dryer.

      by david78209 on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 09:32:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even for those, though, (none)
        the people in those positions work for all of us, not just the president.  If he has a problem getting along with people who are not ideological idiots, then that's his problem.  Interior, Defense, and right on down the line: those people are there to work for us, and the confirmation process should be there to weed out people who are not going to do that.

        Now, he can hire whomever he wants as his personal attorney (and I'm thinking he's really going to need one), but if he's hiring someone who is supposed to be working for the whole of the country, it really ought not to be an ideologue.

        -9.25, -7.54

        Yikes. Good thing I don't have guns.

        by Marc in KS on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 12:27:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You cede too much. (4.00)
    Presidents who have not abused their office in any way are not "entitled to their nominee." The phrase is a talking point with no Constitutional or historical basis.

    The first President to have a SCOTUS nominee rejected was George Washington. There is a long history of the Senate refusing to confirm -- often resusing to even vote on -- SCOTUS nominations.

    Senators have a responsibility to evaluate the nominee independently, as members of a separate branch. If a Senator believe the US is best served by placing the nominee on the Court, vote for him; if not vote against.


    •  you bring up a good point (none)
      The idea of entitlement is not that the President gets whomever he choses, without evaluation. It is that, if the Senate consents, if the presents nominees who are qualified, that his judgment should hold great weight. That is not to say you don't evaluate the nominee independently. It just means from the start, the scales are tipped towards appointment.
      •  I don't even buy that. (none)
        The scales are tipped toward the President simply because he produces the name. The Senate has no effective ability to say, "Send us this nominee instead."

        But I see no Constitutional or historical basis for saying that the nominee starts off with a tilt toward approval.

        •  Hell, the Goopers were able to kill... (none)
          LBJ's attempt to elevate Fortas to CJ in '68.  LBJ had been elected w/ a 61% majority, and the Dems held a large majority in the Senate.  

          There's no reason not to pull out all the stops here.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:19:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Historical meaning (none)
        A Senator may apply whatever criteria he chooses in deciding whether to vote for or against approval.  Historically, the standard has been set by most senators to grant their consent if the nominee is not shown to be unqualified.  Of course, this is not binding, and in recent times, we've seen votes based upon the acceptability of the nominee's expected voting record or ideology on the bench.

        In the end, the Republicans won the Presidential election, so their man has the right to choose whomever he thinks is best.  They also have over the majority of elected senators, whose consent is the check on the President's choice.  That's Democracy.

        •  Wrong. (none)
          Historically, the standard has been set by most senators to grant their consent if the nominee is not shown to be unqualified.

          The very first rejected nominee, Rutledge, was voted down because of political disagreements, not judicial qualifications.

          Further wrong: the check on the President's choice is not 'the consent of the majority.' It is the consent of a super-majority, per logn-standing Senate rules.

        •  Well... (none)
          ...people who know more about this than me are welcome to correct me if I'm wrong, but if I recall the original idea of the founders was to vest this authority solely in the Senate, and only at the last minute did they decide to include the president (I'd imagine because asking a group of people to settle on a nominee was asking for chaos).
      •  Even if that were true... (none)
        ...the idea that "It just means from the start, the scales are tipped towards appointment" should go right out the window as a result of Bush's term in office. That goes for Democratic presidents as well. Time to rejuvenate the Senate and put a stop once and for all to the imperial presidency.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 08:39:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In recent polling (none)
          It seems that the majority of americans do not trust this Alito character. And they do not trust this president. Since both of these persons are shown to be less than trustworthy how can we the people allow our elected representatives to simply vote for confirmation along party affiliations. If filibuster is the route, so be it. If a rejection in a straight up or down vote is the way to throw out this bigoted, woman hating joker, than so be it.
    •  Damn straight. POTUS doesn't even... (none)
      ... have unbridled authority to make appointments within the Executive branch!

      And this is the third (independent?) branch of government we're talking about here.

      Both the Executive and Legistlative branches must have a say in the composition of the Judiciary.

      "President proposes, Congress disposes." No Presidential whimsy permitted, especially here!

    •  Shall we have a (4.00)
      "And President Bush is no George Washington"
    •  That's exactly right (none)
      No president is entitled to any nominee - be it a cabinet position or a court nominee. This b.s. notion of presidential entitlement is no small reason why we're in the mess we're in today.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 08:37:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i strongly agree ... (none)
      ... as i diaried yesterday, in my first-ever-diary, which i believe went almost entirely unread (but i'm not bitter).

      a. The authority of the executive does not exceed that of the Senate in choosing justices. The Judiciary is not an arm of the President's administration, and it is not there to act as a venue within which the President exercises his political agenda. It is an independent arm of our government.

      b. The Senate confirmation process is a job interview. It is not the job the Not-The-President's-Party to somehow back the nominee into a corner, forcing some sort of critical gaff. Rather, it is the responsibility of the job applicant (the nominee) to persuade the search committee (the senate and its duly-constituted committees) that the applicant is qualified for the job. No hiring committee for anything would ever hire an applicant who was quite clearly trying to avoid being forthright.

      I want to absolutely clear about this: The nominee has no rights, other than those shared by other job applicants -- and not even some of those, since some of the rights might conflict with the specific requirements of the job. If the administration nominates someone, and then invokes executive privilege in order to hold onto records of the nominee's history working for the executive, that is legal. The executive can keep their records. But no search committee would ever hire someone who stonewalled this way, and such stonewalling is entirely reason enough to reject the applicant. Get it? Applicant. It's a job interview. Period.

      A few months ago, someone told me about a job interview for a retail clerical position, in which the applicant declined, without explanation, to remove her sunglasses, even on request of the interviewers. Maybe she had a good reason. Maybe she didn't. But she didn't provide one, and she didn't get the job.

      Judicial appointments are not a game, in which the Executive tries to outwit the Senators from the Not-The-President's-Party. Judicial appointments are a hiring process, in which all parties are obliged to be entirely forthcoming. EOD.

  •  This unorthodox approach.... (none)
    or rationale to a filibuster may have swayed me.

    We still do not have the numbers, inside even our own conference.  

    44 Democratic Senators.

    Ben Nelson, Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin have all said a filibuster is not warranted.

    44-3 = 41.

    I say that Blanche Lincoln, Bill Nelson, Mary Landreiu and Mark Pryor are all safe bets to do the same.


    Now, Chafee and Snowe and Collins may vote against Alito, but as good Republicans, they will not filibuster.

    The political reality is we do not have the numbers.

    "The problem is that power corrupts, and we simply have too much of it." Rep. Jeff Flake (R- AZ) We Can Change That.

    by Delaware Dem on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:14:19 AM PST

    •  Where did Durbin say that? (none)
      In the Yahoo piece I saw, he said that he wasn't sure right now if there were the votes for it.  There's a big difference there.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:17:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you only need one (none)
       to filibuster. I'm hoping Feinstein and/or Feingold are that one.
    •  can i just say (none)
      what the HELL is up with Feinstein?

      From her appearance on FOXnews on Sunday:

      "If I believe that he was going to go in there and overthrow Roe, the question is, most likely, yes."

      There is no doubt, based on his record and his answers at the hearings, he will overturn Roe.


    •  There are several... (none)
      ...Kossacks reporting what various Senators have said, without providing links. When I look for these quotes I can't find them.
    •  We actually have 45 (none)
      if you count Jeffords (I believe he conferences with the Democrats)

      I have seen nothing on whether he would support a filibuster (my guess is he won't - but I don't know)

    •  Some fights are worth losing (4.00)
      Somehow, somewhere, we have to show that we stand for something.  This is it.  This is the last line in the sand.  If the Democrats can't prove that they stand for seperation of powers, privacy (choice), diversity and the importance of keeping your goddamn promises, they stand for nothing.  This isn't just a game played to see which team can "score points" with Scalito as the football.  This is about making damn sure no more women bleed to death because abortion is recriminalized.  

      Even if we can't win a filibuster, we have to fight, and be seen to be fighting, so the American people know there is opposition to the tyranny of King George.

      •  Yes, and some forums are worth seizing (none)
        Extended debate on Alito provides an opportunity to discuss crucial issues in front of a national audience that, in the drama of a filibuster, just might pay attention.  Democrats have few chances to really command the MSM's attention, but this is one of them.  There's no point in keeping powder dry for the next battle - this nomination was central to the last two elections, and the choice of Alito neatly links to almost every aspect of the current constitutional crisis.
    •  Chafee? Ya gotta be kidding (none)
      Chafee for falling all over Alito.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 10:37:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When are you and Armando leaving for DC? (none)
    It's well past time for this site to flex its muscle a little.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:15:40 AM PST

  •  Yes (none)
    The more I think about it: Why don't you go to DC as our representatives?
  •  This is the approach that should have been (4.00)
    taken a long time ago.

    This President is NOT entitled to squat, because he was not elected, but was lawlessly selected in the first place, and ever since he has betrayed the People, violated the Constitution, and headed the most corrupt and ruthless government in our history. Furthermore, his appointments suck.

    This deference and entitlement business is inappropriate, and our Dems should be saying so. But they won't.

    Instead, too many will continue to kiss the hem of the robe.

    Drives me nuts.


  •  If there is a small pool of... (none)
    highly qualified, well-tempered, ideologically "mellow" judges that should be on the Supreme Court, the President should get his choice.

    If he does a good job, the Senate will confirm 100-0.

    But if the President fails in his job, or does a mediocre job, the Senate's responsibility is to decide if the judge is qualified, well-tempered, and mellow enough.

    "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

    by Jonathan4Dean on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:19:21 AM PST

  •  Why do you want to cut... (4.00)
    entitlement programs for presidents?

    But that's basically it. When you have a president who has not only committed impeachable offenses, but admitted to it and advanced the theory that such offenses are merely another thing to which he's entitled, you've got a problem.

    But for the partisan resistance on the part of Republicans to give his abrogation of the Constitution a serious look, you're looking today at a nomination that otherwise couldn't be made tomorrow.

    That deserves nothing.

  •  I completely agree with you, Georgia (none)
    especially with your closing paragraph: "Let us examine the conduct of this Presidency first."

    I only wish (as I've posted many times) that we had put first things first.  An full investigation into whether Bush broke the law should have preceded Alito's hearing.

    It seems to me that the minute Dems engaged in the confirmation hearing, agreed to business as usual, the battle was lost.  They should have stonewalled on all business until the question of illegal surveillance had been examined.

    Maybe it's not too late to use this strategy now, but we're certainly on a weaker footing than we would have been before Alito's hearing.


  •  No Entitlement for THIS President (none)
    Bush is absolutely NOT entitled to a rubber stamp approval for any of his appointments. Were it not for the complicity of the reigning Republican Party, he would have been impeached by now.
    Absent of any impeachment prospects, he should be detained at his ranch in Texas for the next three years--without access to his lawyers and with no means of communication to the outside world. Do unto him as he has done unto others.
  •  Will a Repub vote against Alito? (none)
    From what I understand, Delay used to force compliance amongst the Republicans by threatening to withhold funds for reelection and generally using his position to block a representative. That was how he got everyone voting in lockstep, ensuring that Bush got what he wanted (regardless of right or presidential entitlement).

    Now that he has resigned, I would like to know whether someone else has taken the same sort of control of the pursestrings or whether we will see Republicans voting in ways that benefit their constituents and the people in general rather than toeing the party line.

  •  This is absolutely the best analysis (none)
    I have ever read on this outstanding site! Could not be more exactly on the mark!
    Thank you, Georgia, x 1000!
    Great job!
  •  I have never (none)
    subscribed to this nonsensical view.  Apparantly neither has Congress when it cam to Bill Clinton (remember nannygate, etc.?).  However when the President is nominating someone who is NOT going to be one of his advisers, or on his staff, the rationale completely disappears.  
    However look for the MSM talking point to be "well elections have consequences",  a line that you NEVER heard from them while the election was being held and it was too focused on Swift Boating and 'was there a knockout punch in th4e debate" to mention the ramifications of GWB's reelection.
    This is the same MSM who is spouting that Alito has 'an open mind' on Roe, but who, when he votes to overturn, will tut tut that 'anyone who watched the hearings would have surely known that he would vote to overturn Roe"
    There is no deference due this President who has show the country to be utterly incapable of appointing competent people to posts in his administration (heckuva job Mike) and who, indeed, has hadat least two of his appointees leave under indictment.
    A filibuster is not only allowed under these circumstances, it is compelled.
  •  Shorter Effective Response.. (4.00) "the President is entitled to his nominee" from rightwingers:
       "Harriet Miers"

    Not that I don't agree completely your fantastic and eloquent longer statement.  ;)

  •  Damn straight Georgia (none)
    Now, let's get her pursuasive words in the hands of the Legislative Analysts of our Senators where it can make some difference.  They ain't going to come here to get it.

    If these hearings are any guide, our Senators are as exposed to the forward-thinking blogosphere as an albino is to sun.

    Lets shed some light for them how useful it can be.  And hopefully, they'll realize they've got a real resource in DKos.  

  •  Post should stay open (none)
    let O'Conner retire, leave the post open.  Nothing says that we need to have 9 justices, expecially one as noxious and un-American as Alito.  
  •  bull! (none)
    since it appears that scalito will be confirmed and that the vote won't even be close, again I ask the question: When will the sheeple wake up and see that there is no hope to be found in continuing to support the Democratic Party?!
  •  HEAR HEAR HEAR HEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (none)
    This is all I've been thinking since the Plame scandal broke.  Each new scandal makes it more painfully clear that he is NOT entitled to nominate Supreme Court Justices.  

    I've never been able to say it so clearly, but reading your post sent shivers down my spine.

    This is exactly how I feel.  My frustration boileth over.

    Thank you.

    Want a handle? You should see my hips.

    by annaconda1 on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:43:53 AM PST

  •  "You go girl"... (none)
    Praise Jesus...
    Woo Hoo...
    Fiddley dee..
    Hot tamales...

    Now, where are the cojones?  (pronounced "balls")

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:45:08 AM PST

  •  this is an unsustainable approach to confirmation (none)
    i think alito is way too conservative and am dismayed he will be on the Court.  but we lost the election for president and we don't even have a senate majority.

    he is clearly qualified.

    as much as i'd like to defeat alito, looking beyond this single confirmation fight, i just don't see how the confirmation system works if the senators simply vote people down who they don't like ideologically.  there has to be some built in deference to the president, because if there isn't, a conservative president like bush can just keep serving up conservative nominees and the senate can just keep filibustering or voting them down.  that is a stupid system and when the tables turn and we are in power, we will be sorry for pushing for it.

    flame me if you want, but i am a die-hard liberal democrat.  but let's win some fucking elections, this battle is lost and fighting it through a filibuster just makes our constitutional system poorer.

    •  The problem seems to be that (none)
      except for Ginsberg...

      Dems appoint more "concensus" type candidates.

      Rethugs appoint right wing nutjobs.

      The Democrats seem to really try to come to the middle and the Rethugs throw out the most over the top conservative they can find.

      HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

      by annrose on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 06:57:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes but (none)
        i agree, but ginsburg was nominated by a president whose party did not control the senate.

        here, because we suck so royally in electoral politics, we control nothing.  so it makes perfect sense that we get less of a consensus nominee.

        •  The Dems controlled the Senate in 1993... (none)
          IIRC, both Ginsberg and Breyer were confirmed by Dem Senates.  Remember, the Clinton WH was "keeping its powder dry" for the health care fight.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:19:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The confirmation system doesn't work (none)
      Nor does the impeachment system work when a republican congress impeaches a democratic president over a blowjob*.  Nor does the presidency work when the president assumes war powers over an undeclared, indefinitely long war to torture, indefinitely detain, and wiretap US citizens without any sort of trial or right to confront their accusers.  Education doesn't work when people insist on teaching fables as science.  Science doesn't work when industry insists on muddying the waters with paid experts that deny global warming when all real experts agree it is an imnminent threat to all life on this planet.  The judicial system doesn't work when most nominees a president suggests never even get out of committee (and w ehave the republicans under Clinton to thank for that).

      Lots of things aren't working right now.  AS I said below, when you're faced with a group of ruthless scumbags who insist on gaming the system, the last thing you can do is play fair.  Either you game the system yourself or you resign yourself to defeat.  Now, in a game, defeat doesn't mean all that much and it's fine, but when we're talking about life and death the stakes are high enough that we need to do something more.

      And no, the ends do not justify the means, but I just don't see filibustering one individual as being all that horrible, and the potential gains of not allowing the president to become dictator are just too great to NOT do this.

      *Yes, I realize what the official documents say it was about, lying under oath.  I reject that.  It was about a blowjob, pure and simple.  Or, if you want to be really accurate, it was about being a democrat and liked.

      •  Bush too lied openly about (none)
        spying being done in a legal way. We had statements quoted here where Bush talked about following the law and getting warrants before spying. It's all immortalized on film.

        Why is lying to the American people less of a crime for a president than lying to a prosecutor??? I agree with you Tolkien, 100%.

        •  because (none)
          Mr. Bush wasn't lying for personal gain. Like it or not, you'd have a hard time proving that denial of wiretapping on calls with one end on foreign soil was motivated by anything but concerns for national security.

          In David Brooks' words from yesterday, 'Americans will tend to side with the side that is overzealous at prosecuting terrorists, not overzealous in prosecuting anti-terrorists who break the law.' Like it or not, ultimately voters make the decisions. This isn't a winning issue.

          •  Actually, he did lie for personal gain (none)
            The gain was personal power.  I believe the reason we went to war with Iraq (well, Bush's reason) involved a lot of military contractors.  This allowed him to funnel money to them so they would help support his reelection campaign.

            Likewise, going into Iraq allowed him to appear to be a tough heman as opposed to a snivveling wimp.  The US rarely elects snivelling wimps knowingly.

            So lying about the reasons for war in Iraq was indeed for personal gain.

            As for the wiretapping, that's almost certainly also for personal gain as, when the records come out, I am certain that most of the wiretappees will prove to have nothing to do with terrorists, but a lot to do with political opposition to Bush and Bush initiatives.

            I'm also confident we'll find that MANY of those calls took place where neither end was on foreign soil.

            If Americans had the full facts I would agree with David Brooks, but more apropos might be the line abotu being able to fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time.  Bush, due to our electoral system, does not need to fool all of the people all of the time.

    •  clearly qualified? (none)
      How do you figure that? He certainly lacks some of the criteria I would attach to the list of necessary qualifications.
  •  The Republicans mugged Comity ... (4.00)
     ... sometime around 1985, then came back and kidnapped and tortured the poor Capital fellow for a decade in the 90's before finally killing him off completely in 1998.  

    RIP Comity
    Useful when s/he wasn't useful
    Useless now that s/he is

    Wake up children.  That's no legislative brother -- that's no colleague on the other side of the aisle -- that's a cuckoo bird rolling all your eggs out of your nest.  Republicans are brood parasites -- in their secret member's-only communications they have declared war on you -- they mean to eliminate you using any and every means possible.  They are entitled to NOTHING.  Ever.

    Fight like hell.  Your extinction is forewritten.

    BushAmerica -- Now killing 24/7/365. *Your tax dollars at work*.

    by Yellow Canary on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:01:22 AM PST

    •  I agree (none)
      But just out of curiosity, do you see a particular event in 1985 that marked the end of comity?

      (Of course, the GOP and its media allies say that comity ended with the rejection of Bork.)

      Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out -- Emperor Claudius

      by Upper West on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:21:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ;-) Darting. (none)
        Tried to spear a worm in the data stream of memory and a piece of seaweed with that date stuck to my beak.  It was more trope-ical than topical:  my aim was broad.

        Comity, of course, comes and goes.  Many Progressives value it, and -- d'oh! -- the Republican machine is programmed to use it against them, every time.

        "Esteemed colleague" my ass -- Jeffrey Sessions is the fledgling of a spinal cancer, shiny as fresh shit, mean as a flagellant.

        And with that, I flit to my Claudius look-up page.

        BushAmerica -- Now killing 24/7/365. *Your tax dollars at work*.

        by Yellow Canary on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:53:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. (none)
          Great imagery,

          And if Sessions is as you described (and he surely is), what does that make the Tulia-ignoring, loathsome "esteemed" Senator Cornyn, or the "Gays can't teach" "esteemed" Sen. DeMint, or the "sodomy=prostitution" "esteemed" Sen. Coburn?

          Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out -- Emperor Claudius

          by Upper West on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 08:30:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Please avert the headline. . . (none)
    "Bush Turns Corner"

    Whatever else negative will come of this, the thing I dread most in the short term is the inevitable spin that would come with the confirmation vote: he's back in the saddle.

    Wave upon wave of nausea.

  •  Thanks, Georgia10 (none)
    I have also been thinking of this since the Plame case.

    Democrats' position should be -- no confirmation until all matters relating to Plame and the NSA are resolved.

    There is a strong likelihood that the NSA case will be resolved by the Supreme Court.  Here we have a President who has most likely violated the law, in the view of many constitutional scholars (including many conservative ones).  If Alito is confirmed, Bush will have appointed two Justices who will rule on whether he actually has violated the law.  How is this just in any sense of the word?

    Your Lewinsky analogy is exactly right.  Hell, the GOP blocked scores of Clinton's Appeals Court nominations even before Lewinsky.

    I certainly hope some of the witnesses today make this point.

    Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out -- Emperor Claudius

    by Upper West on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:14:48 AM PST

  •  Fuck it (none)
    If the Republicans are going to play Calvinball with our legal system during our reign of terror then i see us as being completely justified in, at the very least, undoing their wrongs when their reign ends.

    To that end, I am saying right here and now that, if Alito should be confirmed as a supreme court judge and, at some point after that, the Democrats should hold both houses of congress, the presidency, and a compliant press corps, then I have no problem with them simply nullifying that appointment and appointing their own person to the supremem court instead.  After all, we'll be in a tie of war (war on terror, drugs, small beagles, indian head pennies, cabbies, what-have-you) and in a time of war we must defer to the president's judgement, even if it clearly violates the laws and the constitution.

    What they can do, we can undo.

    Mind you, if both sides played by the rules none of this shit would be possible, but in a game where one side refuses to abide by any rules at all, it's pointless for the other side to obey those rules just because the side not obeying the rules cries like a whiny titty baby about it*

    *Atrios' phrase, credit where credit is due.

    •  That's the way I see it. (none)
      One we take the white house and even just ONE chamber of the congress, we move to EXTRAORDINARY measures to undo the cogs of the present reign of terror.

      We will set new precedence to guard against this EVER happening again.

      Personally, I think we need a parliamentary system of govt. To HELL with this two-party system. It is oppressive and futile given the complications of the world we live in today.

      As far as I am concerned, once we get a new president, the people should just harass those wingnuts right off the supreme court. Nothing says they can't resign. And the people should force them to.

      LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

      by letsfight on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:45:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How can filibustering be off the table? (none)
    I ask again:  If not now, when?  If not him, who?

    Neither Bush nor Alito deserve Alito on the Supreme Court.

  •  There's a heap of diff betw judicial vs. exec appt (none)
    If the president is making an appointment to the executive, then, yes, s/he has the luxury of having anyone he chooses serve at his pleasure - within reason. Hence the advice and consent of the senate.

    If the president is making an appointment outside of the executive dept, ie, a judicial appointment, then he does NOT have the luxury or power of appointing someone to serve HIM at his pleasure.

    The question is this: Does this theory of entitlement prevail when the President has abused the trust of the American people?

    Now on to primary question in this diary.  The theory of entitlement does prevail when the president has abused the trust of the American people as long as the people continue to support that president. The president derives power ONLY from the people.  That's it in a nutshell. That's why approval ratings are crucial. There is a reason the social security reform bill hasn't popped up its head in Congress.  The president has ZERO popular support for it. He spent what? A full year or more going on daily stumps throughout the nation at an exhorbitant cost to the taxpayers, and came back with NUTHIN!

    I think the question is:  How is it that the sitting president of this nation HAS popular support after abusing the people's trust?  If we can answer that question, we might be on our way to deciphering how to dismantle that support. Yes, the 4th Estate is a problem. But what else? (I stand by my assertion posed on other diaries that we have to get our people to turn their damn tv's off!!!)

    LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

    by letsfight on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:41:00 AM PST

    •  but bush doesn't have popular support (none)
      his approval ratings hover below 40%. Moreover, on a side note, his nominee doesn't even have popular support. 59% say block Alito if he'll overturn Roe. So I think we have the public's back on both factors.
  •  Alito a jester to the King's Court.? (none)

    Good one georgia.

    The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

    by ccnwon on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:46:34 AM PST

  •  did you swipe (none)
    (but eloquently elaborate on) the post I wrote yesterday... :)

    This is exactly what I've been writing to the Dems (tho' shorter), and will include selected Repubs as well (Snowe and Hagel are supporting NSA hearings).

    And why shouldn't the Dems filibuster unless and until the NSA scandal is investigated first?


  •  I disagree with the entire premise... (none)
    Even if Bush wasn't evil incarnate, I wouldn't agree that he has any entitlement to his nominee being confirmed.  If that were true, we wouldn't need the Senate to hold hearings and the Constitution wouldn't say what it says.  This is just a way for Democratic senators to look slightly less spineless.
    •  I don't necessarily agree with that (none)
      premise either, but a hell of a lot of Democrats do, including Biden and the moderates. So while we may not agree with that premise, we should counter it anyway.
      •  No argument... (none)
        Bush has clearly forfeited his right to be treated with any deference whatsoever.  And he's shown himself to be perfectly willing to USE the fact that people defer to him for subsequent political advantage.

        Witness the constant drumbeat about how Democrats supported going to war with Iraq.

  •  Don't you wish they'd filibustered Iraq invasion (none)
    ... until inspectors had done their job?
    We know now that Commander Codpiece abused the benefit of the doubt he received when he misled Congress to get emergency war powers.
    We know now he never intended to use those powers for what he said they were for, but to hide a pre-set political agenda and avoid oversight and accountability behind a flag-decorated curtain.
    No, the Mad King is not entitled for people to bow to him.

    If the wingnut cause is just, why all the weaseling? Anyone? Bueller? scAlito?

    by Peanut on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:51:59 AM PST

  •  To Understand Is To Forgive, Sometimes (none)
    A few questions--

    Somehow it's "OK" that Alito belonged to a racist group for many years, put it on his c.v., and now "can't recall" belonging.

    Would it have been equally "OK" if it were learned that he was a member of:

    Move On
    Act Up
    National Lawyers' Guild?

    The fact that Harriet Miers may have once been a centrist, or even a Democrat, seemed enough to sink her with the "conservatives."

    Would Alito have to belong to the Klan to be criticized by the Right? Or would that be "OK" too?

    If Martha Stewart had cried in court, would the MSM have let her off the hook?

  •  Hail Georgia (none)
    The man is entitled to nothing from the Congress he has abused and misled. The man is entitled to nothing from the American people he has betrayed. It is us, the citizens of this country, who are entitled to the truth. And until we receive that truth, this nominee should not pass.
      Love it.  Handing over the destruction of the Constitution he is supposed to uphold is not the act of someone who truly represents the people.  The Senate marches merrily towards its own emasculation on the basis of the president's entitlement?  Are they blinded by the cult or are they just stupid?

    Theocracy is tyranny

    by Druidica on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 07:58:54 AM PST

  •  I've decided to start looking at the sources (none)
    the unitary executive theorists bring forward from the Founding Fathers period.  So I've started reading Terry Eastland's Energy in the Executive, which gives big play early on to Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 70, which emphasizes the importance of having an energetic executive.  However, Hamilton also makes it clear that, under the then-new Constitution, the president would not be a king, and would be responsible for his actions:

    In England, the king is a perpetual magistrate; and it is a maxim which has obtained for the sake of the pub lic peace, that he is unaccountable for his administration, and his person sacred. Nothing, therefore, can be wiser in that kingdom, than to annex to the king a constitutional council, who may be responsible to the nation for the advice they give. Without this, there would be no responsibility whatever in the executive department -- an idea inadmissible in a free government. But even there the king is not bound by the resolutions of his council, though they are answerable for the advice they give. He is the absolute master of his own conduct in the exercise of his office, and may observe or disregard the counsel given to him at his sole discretion.

    But in a republic, where every magistrate ought to be personally responsible for his behavior in office the reason which in the British Constitution dictates the propriety of a council, not only ceases to apply, but turns against the institution. In the monarchy of Great Britain, it furnishes a substitute for the prohibited responsibility of the chief magistrate, which serves in some degree as a hostage to the national justice for his good behavior. In the American republic, it would serve to destroy, or would greatly diminish, the intended and necessary responsibility of the Chief Magistrate himself.

  •  What is our baseline? And other simpler questions (none)
    The concept that the Senate and the nation must consent to anyone the President nominates is absurd on its face. So, how far can we narrow it down? It's obvious to me that we wouldn't accept, say, David Duke, right?

    How would you feel if the President nominated a 21 year-old high-school dropout who spoke halting English? I'll even grant that this person has citizenship. Would the President be entitled to that nominee?

    Would the President be entitled to his nominee if it were (any name will do but I'll go with) Shania Twain?

    The President withdrew Miers, are her qualities our baseline now? Should they be? Should Clarence Thomas's qualities be our baseline? Pick one and stick with it.

    ~~This is Aaron G. Stock~~ (My Public Email is altered. Swap "g-ma-il" and "ace-pumpk-in", then remove dashes to email me.)

    by Ace Pumpkin on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 08:37:37 AM PST

  •  Great great argument! Applause! (none)

    Everyone should hear this point that you have expressed so well!! You are eactly right.

    When I read this I thought: YES. Of course. This is true. What deference should be shown for a president who has done any of the illegal things he has done or who has told the lies he has told? None. He truly deserves none of the normal rights that come with the office he has disgraced.

    Perhaps this is why an impeachment movement needs to be heard loud and clear so that all Americans know there are millions who believe that this president has disgraced the office and conducted an illegal presidency.

    When Dubya invaded Iraq...he really finished the job that Iran, our once and future enemy, failed to do...

    To wit: Removing Saddam and empowering the Shia sect over the Sunnis.

    And by "empowering" the Shia of Iraq Dubya has now even further emboldened the Iranians...

    And why not? The US is doing Iran's dirty work for them...inside Iraq!  And at US taxpayers' expense!

    The sad tale of the Iraq Adventure simply will not go away... And it could be with us for years to come...and it may just have bent the "stream of history" in a different direction...
    Clearly any attack on Iran by Israel would totally destabilize the middle east and send oil soaring...and the US military inside Iraq would be stuck holding the bag, right in the middle of the action, with little hope for success.

    The hope that the UN will "sanction" Iran is ill founded given that Russia and China will use the Iran issue to get even with the US over their losses in Iraq.

    And clearly, the US miliary isn't big enough to invade Iran without a draft...and THAT would be the final straw for the American public!

    The sheer size of Dubya's mistake in Iraq is not fully appreciated...and it's unintended consequences are even now an "unknowable unknown..."

    Stupidity in high places really does have consequences...

    More Content, Less Chat.

    by BALTHAZAR on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 08:50:05 AM PST

  •  Nominate with politics on your mind (none)
    and you should EXPECT politics in return.  

    Filibuster him and damn the consequences.

  •  There's already a jester on the Supreme Court (none)
    to confirm Alito without first confirming whether the President violated the Constitution--is tantamount to appointing a jester to the King's Court.

    ... and he's been there since 1991.

    I suppose we could call that "long-standing precedent". Response For Hurricane Evacuees

    by socal on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 09:09:42 AM PST

  •  hot d@mn! (none)
    You rock, g10!

    Forget classes--go to DC for us!  You da man!  I mean, da woman!  Whatever--you and Armando need to get your orange suits and raise some hell on the Hill!

    Excellent diary, as always.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 09:31:12 AM PST

  •  checks and balances (none)
    I agree.

    But also, why can't we just say that the checks and balances in our Consitution are important for our government?  That, and that the President works for us, not himself...

  •  Amen, Georgia! n/t (none)

    There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. -5.25, -4.67

    by wolverinethad on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 10:07:10 AM PST

  •  I never understood this either (none)
    The president is entitled to his NOMINEE?  I was under the assumption that, with the way powers were doled out,  he was entitled to NOMINATE.  WHich in no way means he's entitled to have his nominees confirmed.  But that's the way I've heard this thrown out from the start.  THe president is ENTITLED to having his nominee confirmed.  If he's so damn entitled, why have the hearing?  Why bother letting Congress grill him (which is pointless when half of them don't even ask questions of him, but instead build him up like professional fluffers), if he's so damn entitled to his nominee?  Just let him appoint whoever he wants and sit them on the bench immediately, if it's like that?

    NO!  FUCKING NO!  This is why we have separation of powers!  THe president is entitled to nominate.  THe Congress SHOULD (again, SHOULD!) be entitled to reject said nominee if he's shown to be wanting.  They shouldn't not just be a fucking rubber stamp, they need to actually show that this candidate is worthy of such a lofty post.

    But screw it.  No hope of ever getting that through the noise machine.  Just give me some rope and a hook to hang it on.

    God help me find some sanity, because I don't know whether I've gone insane or America has.

    by Kryptik on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 10:16:41 AM PST

  •  Now THAT'S an argument I like (none)
    To be honest, I don't think the dems are going to be able to stop this thing on judicial philosophy grounds.  But if they stood up and took this angle....and really run with it...scream it from the hilltops kindof run with it....then I actually think that it might resonate with the amurcun people.  The only thing with it is can't go about it's gotta be a full-out assault.....and need I say it?  Our team up there just ain't got what it takes to do this.  :(
  •  for me, this is a turning point (none)
    Given GWB's pronouncements in the last several months, given Alito's blatant lies and evasions, it seems to me that this is one of the last exits, one of the last places for the Democrats in Congress to take a stand.

    If they don't even try to mount a filibuster-- if they don't unite and go down swinging-- win or lose-- if they don't even realize the importance of standing up right now against the tyranny of the RW   then whenever will they? and what good are they?  What can we possibly hope for from them?  

    Nothing has so depressed me as these hearings. Not Bush v Gore, not Kerry's defeat, not all the cheating lying murdering stealing for the last five years.  Somehow, that just invigorated me to think straight, to speak out, organize, act.  But last night listening to Dana Milbank pontificate on K. Olbermann, I got my first real whiff of despair.  They are all behaving as if the prospect of having this young man on the Supreme Court for the next 40 years isn't a significant defeat.  

    Great polemic, Georgio, lucid and fierce. Here's hoping somebody is listening besides us.

    It is simply a refusal to vote to end debate on a nominee who hasn't answered the important questions.  Given that the administration has repeatedly lied to Congress, and withheld information and then claimed, when the actions turned sour, that the Dems voted for it, too, the Dems should insist on a full record, before voting.

    "This is a life-time appointment to our highest court, at a critical juncture for our nation, and Judge Alito's testimony leaves too many important questions unanswered.  I will not vote to cut-off debate on this nomination until these questions are answered satisfactorily, so that the nation and its citizens understand what this appointment will mean for our country's future."

    or, "Until Judge Alito is willing to provide more information and fuller answers on these important questions which will affect the country's future, I believe it is irresponsible to vote for cloture.  I simply do not have enough information about his judicial philosophy and beliefs on these important issues, and it would be irresponsible to vote to cut-off debate until I do."

    Of course, if the Repubs try to bring up past nominees who refused to answer questions and were confirmed, the Dems can say, "that was a mistake that took our country in the wrong direction, and we don't want to repeat that mistake" or the old Repub fallback for inconsistency "9/11 changed everything."

    Dems can stand up and state "I have a hard time voting to approve a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court for someone who in applying for the job who has stated that we should not place any credence on what he says in a job application.  I cannot vote to cut-off debate until Judge Alito has given us fuller answers, and until I am persuaded that those answers are sincere."

  •  No deference to president on SCOTUS nominees! (none)
    Some deference should be given a president for appointments to the executive branch, though obviously not a blank check ("Heckuva job, Brownie").  For a Judicial appointment the Senate is clearly coequal and should not defer at all to the president but rather it must exercise its own judgement in the  appropriateness of the nominee; failing to do so will erode the entire system of checks-and-balances (e.g., confirming a justice to the SCOTUS with an expansive view on executive powers is for the legislative branch to commit virtual suicide).  I've always been appalled at the way the confirmnation process has become like the presidential "debates": merely an exercise in the nominee not shooting-themselves-in-the-foot rather than a true debate or investigation into the nominees qualifications and suitability!

    It's high time to find out if the filibuster still exists.  To fail to push the point now will be allow the GOP to deny its use to the Dems while reserving if for GOP use in the future when they return to minority status in the Senate---the sooner the better---thus letting the GOP have it both ways.

  •  Right conclusion, wrong rationale (none)
    I agree with Georgia10's conclusion -- that President Bush's Supreme Court nominees are not entitled to deference -- but not her rationale.

    The rationale seems to be "Bush is a really bad guy" -- which is true enough, but it doesn't get at the real issues at stake, which is the relationship between two coordinate branches of government.

    When the executive is filling its own positions (e.g., Bush's nomination of Condi Rice as Secretary of State), Congress does owe some, but not complete, deference.  There's no balance of power between two coordinate branches at stake.

    By contrast, in the case of court nominees, we ask the executive branch to staff the judicial branch.  In that context, it is absolutely proper to reject the principal of deference, because the balance of power between two coordinate branches is at stake.  The legislative branch needs to act as a check on the executive.

  •  thank you!! I've been trying to say this (none)
    for days and days now here.

    He is entitled to NOTHING.  He is a liar, a crook, a war criminal, a homicidally incompetent power-mad fool.

    He gets NOTHING.  

  •  well spoken georia (none)
    Keep up the good work.

    When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon. Thomas Paine

    by mrcoder on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 05:40:47 PM PST

  •  Sic Semper Tyrannis (none)

    My family name comes through a line of English immigrants to Virginia, who included a great-grandparent of George Washington.

    The motto of the Commonwealth, of course, is "Thus Ever to Tyrants."  What Bush deserves is the fate deserved by every tyrant.

    Er, that doesn't involve getting his way, or good people deferring to him.  

    "In this world limits are not only inescapable but indispensable." (Wendell Berry).

    by proudtinfoilhat on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 05:40:53 PM PST

  •  One thought.. (none)
    Clinton never tried to pull one like Alito.  His appointees were not "conservatives" (that word has lost all meaning with regards to the Bush presidency) but they weren't far out of the mainstream either.  I heard alot about Ginsburg being "ultra-liberal" because she was involved with the ACLU.  The ACLU is NOT a "Liberal" organization.  From a classical standpoint, it's conservative as hell--it seeks only to keep the status quo (the bill of rights) safe.  I'm sick and tired of hearing the ACLU described as a bunch of wackos.  I'm proud to be a member of the ACLU.  Any person who says they're going to "defend the constitution" (535 members of congress, the President, and the 9 Supreme Court justices) SHOULD be a member.

    What's wrong with an organization that defends our constitutionally protected rights?  How is that "left-wing?"  Is the right admitting they're pissed about the bill of rights and would like it gone?  I guess that's the answer.  They see it as left-wing because it opposes them.

    The ACLU hasn't had much of a "political" agenda.  They support people who support the basic rights enshrined in the constitution.  They've fought for right wing wackos just as much as liberals.  Hell, they fought for neo-nazis to march on a Jewish town!  The ACLU doesn't ask "are you a liberal" before they help someone--they do it when someone's rights have been violated.

    So besides that, how exactly was Ginsburg out of the mainstream?  It would seem she falls on the side of MOST Americans.  Same for Breyer.  Alito is the one who's out of the mainstream--and as a result, he is an "extraordinary circumstance."

    If those spineless weasels in the Senate who call themselves Democrats don't at least try to fight this, I really see no reason to vote Democratic again.  I'm sick and tired of seeing the "liberal" party kowtow to the far-right assholes who are controlling this country.

    I'll just vote for myself.  At least I'll represent the values that matter to me.

    whoring my blog like it's my job!

    by jjhare on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 09:16:41 PM PST

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