Look it up. These are lyrics to a country song. The coffee shop that I frequent in Dupont is blaring non-stop country on satellite radio. I’m not one of those “anything but country” people. I am not opposed to bluegrass or Johnny Cash and I’ve probably been seen inadvertently toe-tapping to an occasional Garth Brooks song, but 90% of the songs on this station are physically painful. Fortunately, there is free wifi and good coffee here and a slight auditory repulsion to background music forces me to concentrate on the task at hand. That is particularly helpful considering that I find myself hundreds of pages behind on my reading with December creeping ominously close and with it the prospect of failing exams.
The inevitable onset of exam-related panic was triggered by the recent and sudden change in weather on the East Coast. On Wednesday I woke up and put on my California uniform – hemp shorts and Rainbow sandals – and went to class. Not less than 24 hours later, the city was under a frost warning as the temperature dropped precipitously to an ear-numbing 30 degrees. I actually like the cold. I like bundling up and seeing my breath against the city backdrop and anticipating the first snow. I love walking in to a warm café and drinking hot coffee. (On a side note, I think every city that has a cold winter should do like Prague and have grog on every street corner.) What I don’t enjoy is the realization that an entire semester has gone by and I’m hopelessly behind. Hobbled by the motivation-draining recognition that law school is really a year long and anything I learn now will be subsequently forgotten, it’s been difficult to drag myself to class, let alone keep up with reading.
So, in the spirit of avoiding work that is desperately overdue I present my also long overdue opinion of Mr. Alito. I feel like I was pretty fair with Roberts and Miers, so hopefully I retain some credibility with our conservative readers when I say Alito should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. I largely accept the premise that nominations to the Supreme Court are political and thus the corollary that Bush should be allowed to nominate whoever he wants. This is mostly because I also accept the premise that judging itself is largely a political process. There is simply no way to be objective when it comes to the major contemporary legal issues; every judge makes value decisions when deciding what the constitution means. In some ways this limits my arguments; I can’t yell and scream about protecting our rights and the like because I think our “rights” as defined in the Constitution are pretty vague and subject to opinion. Likewise, I can’t claim to know precisely what the founder’s meant in drafting each provision of the Constitution. So I’m left with political arguments. But I think at the moment these arguments are pretty strong.
First of all is Bush’s approval rating. It is clear that the public has lost the trust and respect for the President that (somehow) carried him through last year’s (has it only been a year??) election. All of the things that Democrats, objective independents and anyone else who has been paying attention have been complaining about for years, are catching up to the President. Jon Stewart said that he thinks part of the reason some conservatives are doubting Bush is because they finally saw what it is like to be on the other side with the Miers nomination. That would neatly explain why Bush has chosen Alito – to get back in the good graces of those who have supported him through every blunder because they believed at some point it would all be worth it when they got to nominate a Supreme Court justice.
I have to ask those people now: was it worth it? Was it worth a failed war, a corrupt administration, huge deficits, the undermining of America’s place in the world, corporate malfeasance run amok, and lies piled on lies to get your Alito? Conservatives around the country were so angry with Miers because they accepted each of these monumental failures defending Bush tooth and nail, because he promised to nominate Scalia-lite. Congratulations.
The second political argument against Scalia is that his views do not reflect the views of the majority of the country. As stated above, this nomination is a concession to the extreme right wing of the party that supported Bush even throughout his blatant failures. This, in and of itself, is reason for every Democrat, and every self-respecting Republican to vote against confirmation. In my view, the crazies already got their veto, they cannot now turn around and say that politicians acting on a power which they are granted are somehow overreaching that very power. In other words: just say no to Alito.