On Replacing O'Connor
While we're waiting for the hearings to begin, I have a question. Why do the Democratic Judiciary Committee members (and other Democratic legislators, strategists, pundits, etc.) get so much slack with the presupposition that Judge Alito's judicial temperament and philosophy need to meet a certain threshold of concurrence with Justice O'Connor's? The demand usually begins with a line like, "Because you are replacing Justice O'Connor, the first woman nominated to the Supreme Court, and frequent the swing vote in key 5-4 decisions..." But it's not clear to me that that provides any support for the notion that her replacement need to replicate her in any way other than suitability and overall qualifications for the bench.
It's obviously no secret that the unstated reality behind the ostensible desire for homogeneity is the fact that, as a "swing voter", O'Connor was in fact often the left-leaning voter in cases that would've otherwise been decided in right-leaning ways. And as a Republican-nominated Justice, O'Connor has pleased many Democrats by causing such swings. Thus, given that it's another Republican's nominee replacing her, added to the fact that Alito is boorishly shoving the Court backward in terms of gender and racial representation, not to mention the fact that the left sees consistent Conservative credentials in the nominee, they have not surprisingly taken it upon themselves to hammer this point home at every opportunity (just see the trasnscripts of their opening statements).
What baffles me is that they're so regularly unchecked in their peddling of this logical oddity that O'Connor's replacement owes her record a burden of philosophical mimicry.
Handcrafted by Flip on January 10, 2006 |
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