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On the brink of his confirmation hearings, Judge Samuel Alito still has the backing of the American people for his selection to the Supreme Court according to every major poll, the Washington Times reports today. With the nation's political attention diverted by the NSA intercepts and the Abramoff plea, it's unlikely that Alito opponents will get much media oxygen to reverse it before testimony begins next Monday:
Despite a major coordinated campaign, liberal interest groups have failed to convince the American public that the Senate should reject Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Every major poll indicates that far more voters think Judge Alito should be confirmed than think he should be rejected. Though that support generally is lower than it was for John G. Roberts Jr. before his confirmation for chief justice in the fall, it is on par with the public support for Supreme Court nominees during the past 20 years.
"Since the nomination of Samuel Alito, left-wing groups have lashed out at him through a number of avenues in an attempt to derail his nomination," conservative activists Sean Rushton and Joseph Cella said in a memo to supporters. "The left's campaign has involved television, radio, print and Internet campaigns, public statements, the issuing of reports, and a van-based road tour. In all these media, the left failed to generate any substantive opposition to Judge Alito."
A poll conducted by The Washington Post just before Christmas, for instance, found 54 percent in favor of Judge Alito's confirmation, compared with 28 percent opposed. A CNN poll last month similarly found 49 percent favoring Judge Alito and 29 percent opposed.
I will be attending the first couple of days of the hearing, along with the First Mate, after live-blogging Justice Sunday III as a blog-reporter. Unless the hearings produce a Harriet Myers moment, I doubt that anything said while Alito testifies will change any minds at all. His opponents needed to make their case before the start of the hearings, and it isn't as if they didn't have ample time to drum up whatever they could. The extended scheduling of the confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee gave every nutcase an extra four weeks to gin up the most ludicrous charges, all of which have fallen away from Alito.
Most humourously, the so-called Rolling Justice tour has been a spectacular flop. The touring protest organized by People for the American Way and the Alliance for Justice has attracted ... almost no one. The Washington Times reports that its impact "was not clear", but what was clear was the massive throngs of people who declined to show up when they arrived in any town. PFAW's Ralph Neas still claims that the anti-Alito forces comprise the "most formidable progressive coalition" since Robert Bork got pilloried, not exactly a great touchstone for comparison.
People have gotten tired of the PFAW/AJ circus every time Bush nominates someone to the appellate court or above; most of them recognize his prerogative to nominate qualified conservatives to the bench as he sees fit and understand that elections have those kinds of consequences. Neas still hasn't caught up to democracy, but the Alito confirmation may finally make it clear.Sphere It View blog reactions
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