The official hearings are over but the battle to frame the information in the media, in the public perception, is about to heat up.
Before the hearings, polls showed that while the majority of Americans would oppose Alito if they believed he would overturn Roe v. Wade, the majority didn't believe he would -- despite indications to the contrary. I.e. A framing or messaging problem.
The hearings ought to have, if anything, made things worse for Alito; w/r/t Roe v. Wade at least.
Bill Scher draws the coordinates for the Alito frame: "After four days of hearings on the Alito nomination, these are the three main things we have learned:"
- You cannot take him at his word. For example, he said about the case he heard involving Vanguard, the mutual fund company he substantial money in: "I did recuse myself, and ... I asked that the original decision ... be vacated." But the Boston Globe reported otherwise...
- He does not believe the Constitution protects a woman's right to an abortion. ...in the hearing, while he tried to disingenuously signal his attitude would be different as a judge, he steadfastly refused to say Roe is settled law...
- He will not provide a check on presidential power grabs. We already knew Alito was a strong backer of the "unitary executive" theory, that presidents hold certain powers that cannot be checked and balanced by other branches of government -- a theory antithetical to our Founders... But a fine point was put on that in the hearing. (for a downright frightening take on this last point, go [HERE]).
ThinkProgress via Buzzflash notes: "During this morningÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hearing, Sen. Russ Feingold noted that the same lawyers who created the legal justifications for BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s warrantless domestic spying program coached Alito about how to answer questions during the confirmation hearings..."
In the Forward, Duke Law Prof Erwin Chemerinsky fears an Alito court noting that, as Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement, a number of 5-4 rulings will shift changing the nation's legal landscape considerably. Chemerinsky writes:
"The Senate should reject Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court because of his almost certain impact in undermining basic constitutional protections. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this nomination for the immediate future of constitutional law in the United States."(HuffPost, ThinkProgress)
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