Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You Voted For Him, NY (Maybe) & Blogger Games


As I noted earlier today, Daniel Drezner is holding a contest for "stupid politician comment of the hearing". The rules are simple: Find the dumbest comment a United States Senator made during the Samuel Alito hearings and post it. A few people in a row jumped on this exchange, and if this doesn't make Chuck Schumer (D-NY) [how many readers of this blog voted for him? Oy.] a winner, I'll be pretty shocked. Not that he hasn't gotten some stiff competition, but this is priceless:

SCHUMER: Does the Constitution protect the right to free speech?

ALITO: Certainly it does. That's in the First Amendment.

SCHUMER: So why can't you answer the question of: Does the Constitution protect the right to an abortion the same way without talking about stare decisis, without talking about cases, et cetera?

ALITO: Because answering the question of whether the Constitution provides a right to free speech is simply responding to whether there is language in the First Amendment that says that the freedom of speech and freedom of the press can't be abridged. Asking about the issue of abortion has to do with the interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution.

Ummm, duh?

UPDATE: I see CWY has picked up on this, and he put it well:
Now Schumer can't really be that dumb. Or maybe he's illiterate. It is possible that he has never actually read the Constitution, and therefore just assumed that the right to an abortion was really written somewhere in the Bill of Rights. The way some people talk about the "right to an abortion", I could understand how someone would believe that it's an express right and not something discovered inside some penumbra of the Constitution.
Continuing on activities for bloggers during these hearings, I see the Beltway Blogroll is hosting "Whack-A-Pol". For this Schumer comment, I think he easily classifies as a moron. And, if you can make a nominee's wife cry, when the person is interviewing for a job, not being questioned for a crime, you're a $#!* - and that applies to whichever Democratic Senators were acting like $#!*s the last few days. You're supposed to be interviewing the man to see if he's qualified for the Supreme Court of the United States: Not playing politics and insinuating that he's a cold, heartless bastard trying to lock up all the poor and minorities and throw away the key, while forcing women to die in labor and allowing the government free reign to terrorize the world [is that an exaggeration? Maybe. But not by much...]. Fill in the $#!* however you wish - just don't make it nice.

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  1. Well to be fair to Schumer (and honestly I doubt this is what he intended), he could consider the applying the simple reading of the text to be a form of interpretation (it actually is). Since Alito is willing to interpret the First Amendment by reading it literally, he should interpret the Due Process clause and tell us if he supports a constitutional right to abortion. Both are forms of interpretation.

    Of course Schumer was probably trying to just find a way to trip Alito up, which is not a good tactic since Alito is a long standing federal judge who is probably smarter and certainly a greater legal scholar than Schumer.

  2. More likely the latter.

    But I'm curious, because Prof. Justice said this tonight: (He anticipated the answer even before hearing it) Even a law student would answer that, no matter how right or left they are. It's simply a completely different issue - one is obviously a basic tenet of the Constitution, one is an interpretation issue.

  3. I know law students who wouldn't answer that (they feel abortion is a fundamental right). But every statement about the Constitution is interpretaton. Even reading the literal text. Therefore they can be equated on some grounds.

    Of course one would have to agree that the Roe analysis is on par with textualism, which is absurd. But some people believe that.

  4. But that's just crazy. Even if you'd say that the basic text requires interpretation, it would be in the fashion "fundamental right to free speech exists; however, there are times when this may be suspended". For things not in the basic text, you'd at MINIMUM have to say "this principle INCLUDES". No?


  6. TTC - Check CAPS. But the Q was stupid, don't you realize that?

  7. It wasn't a stupid question at all. He was trying to make a point. And Mrs. Alito is a lawyer, leading me to wonder if maybe the boo hooing wasn't staged.

  8. DB, go watch the video. And she's a librarian. The questioning was all out of line.

    And Schumer's Q was dumb - ask any lawyer.

  9. It was a dumb question because it's highly unlikely Schumer equates textualism with substantive due process. But both are a form of interpretation. Anytime a judge reads the text, he is interpreting. One form is obviously more forced (Roe is an awful decision), but both are forms of interpretation.

    But it's all academic because Schumer never intended that. He just looked dumb.

  10. Id cry too if i was a woman who just found out her husband was a member of a club that discriminates against women (and found out on national tv)

    No one had to vote for Shumer last year and he still won reelection without any kind of challenge

  11. TTC - Right, that's what he was, and I'm sure she never knew he was part of any clubs, either.

    Re: Schumer, true. That's why I [think I] didn't vote for anyone in the Senatorial race. I'm not saying he wouldn't be there; simply that he shouldn't have necessarily gotten the number of votes he did.