Despite the announcement by one Republican senator that he’ll vote against the nomination, Judge Samuel Alito will probably be confirmed to the Supreme Court this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the public seems to be fed up with the highly-politicized process of confirming justices. An editorial in the Denver Post by Paul Carrese notes:
“Both of our national parties and interest groups on all sides trumpet partial truths, run ads, use surrogates to attack and appeal for donations. In the past decade, this decline has spread to nominees for the lower federal courts. Beyond what this means for candidates and their families, it now touches our constitutional fabric. Single-issue campaigning and accusations about a nominee’s ‘ideology’ are undermining the legitimacy of judicial review and the ideal of non-partisan judges. The president can take some steps to restore a more judicious process, but the Senate must take the lead, since it is there that the most partisanship arises.”
“Quite true,” constitutional law prof Matthew J. Franck writes on National Review’s Bench Memos. But, “Viewed from another angle, however, what is going on in current nomination battles is a struggle to define just what we mean by “duty to the Constitution,” or for that matter what “an independent judiciary” is and what it is for.
“I see no alternative to hurling Supreme Court nominees in front of the cannon’s mouth until those questions are settled. Democrats believe, or pretend to believe, that the Constitution puts judges in charge of the ‘progressive’ expansion of ‘constitutional rights’ at the frontiers of the culture of death – the ‘rights’ of unlawful enemy combatants, the ‘rights’ of abortionists to take lives that could be saved, the ‘rights’ of men and women to ‘marry’ one another in impossible combinations of twos and threes and more. Republicans view it otherwise. Paul’s plea for a return to politically neutral standards for the selection and approval of justices is admirable, but is written for another age, I’m afraid. In the present age we need partisan politics, with all its ugliness, to save the independent judiciary from itself. We may need more of it than we have yet seen. The Supreme Court has been the Constitution’s worst enemy for most of the last century, and can hardly be expected to change its ways if the political temperature it inhabits is lowered.”