Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Alito Confirmed

58-42, mostly on party lines, with Jim Jeffords, an Independent (they exist?) against, Lincoln Chaffee against (the only Republican), and four Democrats for ( Robert C. Byrd ofWest Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, e.g. Red State Democrats). This is the same margin Clarence Thomas was confirmed by, but I have hope that Alito won't turn into a bitter, self-loathing, hateful, spiteful mother fucker by his experience with the Senate. By way of distinction, it's not like he is embittered by a month long "high tech lynching" (what the hell does that mean? This man is on the Supreme Court?) about whether or not he watches porn and said that there was a pubic hair on his Coke. Alito probably will accept that it's Senate politics, that the days of wide confirmation margins are over, and will move on--I hope.

Like I said, I'm not happy. But I knew it was coming, and I knew there was nothing to prevent it. He's no Bork. He's not even Clarence Thomas, who is the WORST justice on the bench and the LEAST qualified. So in the spectrum of evil, he's only mildly bad. Unfortunately he's also principled and self-righteous, so he actually believes that all he's doing is right and good. But it's better than believing that to hell with rightness or justice, I'm going to turn back the clock to 1937 before that new fangled New Deal thing came along! That's the difference between a principled conservative and a wacked out ideologue, so though I'd rather have my druthers, at least I'm not having my hellllll nos.

Feminists: don't freak out yet. Wait for an as-applied challenge to come before the court. It'll probably be an issue you've already seen--minor parental notification, D&X "partial birth" abortion but with a health exception--and there, choice has already been severely constrained but survives thanks to the health exception inclusion into the "undue burden" test.

Federalists: don't freak out yet, Gonzales v. Raich just brought a regulatory federalism victory (too bad on personal use of medical marijuana, an issue that I wish we would allow less regulation on), and Wisconsin Right to Life gave the reverse dual federalism victory allowing state legislatures to draft their own right-to-die laws. So the federalism jurisprudence is even less clear than it was before, and there's a lot of room to manuever. Let's wait and see what happens, particularly in the area of federalizing criminal law and drug laws. I'm worried, but I'm not freaking out...yet.

Separation of Power-ists: FREAK out. What the hell is a unitary executive?! And be careful what you say over the phone. Don't be planning any terror attacks for a while, and if you do, go back to morse code or something.