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We've been joined by Senator Chuck Grassley, a member of the committee, to give us his views on the progress of the hearings.
The demeanor of the Democrats have surprised the newspeople, particularly since they don't seem to be getting the traction they wanted against Alito. Alito is so qualified that Grassley has never seen a nominee with this level of experience. That may have caused the Democrats to turn their demeanor to a more reserved level.
Grassley met with Alito in November ... He is sincered, and he will wait until the last fact is laid before him before making a judgment. He's doing exactly what we expect judges to do -- react mildly and patiently to argument and respond thoughtfully and with an open mind.
Grassley says Alito will be confirmed ...
The incivility that comes at an honest, decent man like Alito distubs Grassley. America has to become a more civil society. Grassley notes all of the different kinds of abuses, and says that our justice system has to have its basis on respect for individuals. That's a great point; all forms of liberty base themselves on the unique nature of, and recognition for, the individual.
Grassley had nine town meetings last week, and in half of them he assured them that Alito would be confirmed.
About Leahy's remarks: Grassley interprets them as a show of effort to demonstrate that the radical Democrats have not yet given up.
Grassley says we might lose a moderate Republican or two, but we should pick up a few moderate Democrats in response.
How can we fix this problem of partisanship? Grassley says the abuse of the "hold" in Senate has to be reined in. The secrecy of the hold is one problem -- "anyone who puts on a hold should have the guts to show himself". The hold allows for a buildup of partisanship which spills over into other processes, like confirmation hearings. ...
Grassley says that he thinks the pressure for the filibuster has receded. My feeling after talking with a number of the committee members and their staffs is that the filibuster has all but disappeared. Alito has performed too well to pull it off without damaging Democrats in the next election.
UPDATE: Alito will be confirmed. Roberts has already been confirmed. That was my mistake, not the Senator's. While he was talking, I was typing a bit behind and he mentioned a comparison between the two hearings.Sphere It View blog reactions
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