Conference Call with Alito "Confirmation Sherpa" Sen. Dan Coats
This afternoon, former U.S. Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) will host a blogger conference call to "give us an update on the nomination, report on the Judge Alito’s meetings with Senators, and discuss the emerging attacks from liberal interest groups."
Watch this space for a scintillating summary.
Background: Excerpted from "Ad war targets N.E. senators on Alito nomination" at Boston.com:
Today, a coalition of leading liberal groups is launching its first major advertising push against Alito, depicting the appeals court judge as the choice of the ''right wing" who would limit individual freedoms.
The ad is airing on cable nationally and on local stations in the home states of Republican senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan M. Collins of Maine, and Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island.
The 30-second spot is being funded jointly by the Alliance for Justice, People for the American Way, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which announced its formal opposition to Alito yesterday. It is scheduled to air today through Tuesday, and other ads are in the works for the coming weeks.
The ad follows a smaller campaign, launched by People for the American Way but not the other liberal groups two weeks ago, arguing in broader terms that Alito would threaten ''fundamental rights and freedoms."
Aron is the voice of the telling "You name it, we'll do it" strategy of defeating Alito and her Alliance for Justice seems recently to have taken on the role of Senator Kennedy's outsourced research department, as noted during the recent conference call with Ed Gillespie.
Update: The Synopsis
RNC eCampaign Director Patrick Ruffini kicked off the call, introducing Senator Coats, who commented on the state of the Alito confirmation process before taking our questions (excerpted and lightly paraphrased, except as noted):
Coats: Judge Alito has recently finished his 66th U.S. Senator consultation, which is likely a Guinness Book accomplishment. These meetings have continued to go exceptionally well. To those Senators who were already supportive of the nominee, he has reaffirmed their opinion. To those that may have had doubts or reservations, he has successfully made the case that he does not resemble the caricature being conveyed by his opponents.
Judge Alito can be expected to be attacked during the Congressional recess, in particular in televised ads that greatly exaggerate and mischaracterize his positions.
I was in the Senate when Justice Ginsberg was nominated, and while I differed with her ideologically, I voted to affirm her nomination based on her qualifications, her experience on the bench, and the belief that the President had "the right to nominate someone of his leaning".
Flip Pidot: How does Judge Alito respond to the Alliance for Justice's claim (per the attack ad transcript discussed above) that Judge Alito made it "easier for companies to discriminate" in the Bray v. Marriott Hotels case?
Coats: I haven't yet seen that transcript, but that was a single, narrow case, about which there were divided opinions. Judge Alito has shown no ideological bent or judicial activism. 66 Senators having met with the nominee, not a single one of them believed otherwise after listening to his explanations of why he ruled as he did.
Patrick Hynes: Why have we not yet seen more activism at a grassroots level both for and against Alito?
Coats: Because upon learning about Judge Alito, "no alarms are ringing." He has a temperament appropriate for the Court and he has been fair in all his rulings.
Matt Margolis: We've been warned for a while that these attack ads were coming. Why wasn't there a stronger fight for a shorter hearing calendar?
Coats: That's a legitimate question and it's a real concern. There was a fight, but ultimately we had to defer to the Judicial Committee, where there was significant resistance among the Democrats.
Ryne McClaren: Given the long lead time before the hearings, will Alito have to prepare for a different line of questioning than John Roberts did? Will Alito need to be more on the offensive?
Coats: Because Judge Alito has been on the bench for so much longer (15 years versus Roberts' 1.5 years), he has presided over a lot more cases (some 3,500). He has been consistent in how and why he has made the decisions he has made, but the longer track record will mean the questions will relate more to specific cases.
John Hawkins: Judge Alito stated in 1985 that he didn't believe there was a Constitutional right to abortion. Given the subsequent related cases that have come before the Supreme Court, doesn't the Ginsberg rule still apply?
Coats: We believe the Ginsberg rule does apply. We didn't press the previous administration's nominee on specifics of such cases and it wouldn't be fair for the Democrats to do so now.
Many thanks to Patrick and Senator Coats for hosting the call.
Update: Patrick Ruffini has followed up with several documents that lay out the controversial, liberal positions Ruth Bader Ginsburg had staked out on age of consent laws, abortion, Mother's Day, and even prostitution, none of which precluded her from being duly considered on the basis of her judicial philosophy and experience. I'm on my way to catch a plane, so I won't be able to look at any of these or offer any reaction until much later tonight. In the mean time, feel free to tear into them yourself. Let me know if you come across anything particularly on point.
Handcrafted by Flip on November 18, 2005 |
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If you ever get an invite for one of the RNC's blogger conference calls, I highly recommend participating. These calls are sometimes tricky to pull off, since a lot of us bloggers have day jobs, but I happened to be [Read More]
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