Monday, November 07, 2005

# Posted 10:41 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

RUSSERT PLAYS THE SPIDER TO KENNEDY'S FLY. The transcript speaks for itself:
MR. RUSSERT: Samuel Alito, the president's new nominee -- let me take you back when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit. Here's Ted Kennedy. [Sound of Kennedy's voice, c. 1990 -ed.]:
"Well, I just join in the commendation. You have obviously had a very distinguished record, and I certainly commend you for long service in the public interest. I think it is a very commendable career and I am sure you will have a successful one as a judge. ...We are glad to have you here and we will look forward to supporting you and voting for you."

So I assume based on that, you'll support him for the Supreme Court.

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, it's possible, but let me just point out that that was for a lower court and some 15 years ago. And since that time, he's had 15 years of decisions on the circuit court...

The people that were so enthusiastic about knocking down Miers are so enthusiastic for this nominee. We have to find out: Why are they so enthusiastic this time and what do they know that we don't know?
That's pretty funny. Kennedy is an experienced member of the Judiciary Committee, but he's suggesting that Christian conservatives know more about Alito than he does. Now that's what I call oversight. Anyhow:
MR. RUSSERT: It's interesting, Senator, though, the way the Senate has changed and I think maybe you have changed in the way you approach Supreme Court nominees. When you first came to the Senate, you said this. "I want to state that it is our responsibility as members of the committee ...in advising and consenting, that we are challenged to ascertain the qualifications and the training and the experience and the judgment of a nominee, and that it is not our responsibility to test out the nominee's particular philosophy; whether we agree or disagree ..."

You don't question Judge Alito's competence...


MR. RUSSERT: ...or integrity...


MR. RUSSERT: ...but you questioned his philosophy.

SEN. KENNEDY: Judicial philosophy is something that Judge Rehnquist thought was very important...

MR. RUSSERT: But that's different than the way you felt in '67...When Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court, Ted Kennedy said, "It's offensive to suggest that a potential Justice of the Supreme Court must pass some presumed test of judicial philosophy. It is even more offensive to suggest that a potential Justice must pass the litmus test of any single-issue interest group."

And yet if someone came before you as a nominee to the Supreme Court and they said they wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, you'd vote against them.

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, if someone came before us and said, "Look, I want -- my intention is to overturn Roe v. Wade," that's bringing an ideology to the court...

MR. RUSSERT: But that's a...

SEN. KENNEDY: Wait a second.

MR. RUSSERT: But that's a single-issue litmus test.

SEN. KENNEDY: Now, wait a second. I am opposed to any litmus test for any nominee. That's been my position. But let me continue...
And continue he does, but let's fast forward a bit:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you this: When there was a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, he nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And at that time, "In her confirmation hearings, [Ginsburg] promised not to bring an ideological bias to the court but expressed opinions on several issues that put her at odds with some of her conservative colleagues. She acknowledged support for a woman's right to choose, praised the failed equal rights amendment and criticized discrimination against homosexuals."

And yet look at the vote. Ginsburg on August 3, 1993, passed 96-to-3. Stephen Breyer, who worked for you, approved 87-to-9. Liberal jurists, liberal judicial philosophy, and yet Republicans overwhelmingly said, "We know their views disagree with ours, but a Democratic candidate won the presidency, and he has a right to put those people on the court." Why won't you give President Bush the same courtesy?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, first of all, I think he is entitled, obviously, for the selection. And he's going to nominate a conservative. The issue isn't so much are they--do they have a conservative view about the Constitution, but whether they bring an ideology to it...
Ah, yes. Here we go again with the "ideology". The good Senator claims that he is tolerant of all judicial philosophies, but will reject candidates who have an ideology. Apparently, the definition of "ideology" is "a judicial philosophy significantly different from my own."

Now, if you've had enough of Ted Kennedy and stop reading this post right here, you are forgiven. But Russert got in two more great shots that deserve to be posted. On the subject of White House personnel, Tim Russert asked:
MR. RUSSERT: Who should leave? Who should leave?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, certainly Karl Rove ought to leave. He should...

MR. RUSSERT: He's not been charged with any crime.

SEN. KENNEDY: He should leave, though. He's being investigated at this present time. We're not assuming either guilty or innocence on any of these individuals.
Remember, Kennedy serves on the Judiciary Committee.

Finally, we come to a set up that I found to be completely transparent, but that Kennedy fell for hook, line and sinker:
MR. RUSSERT: You talked about Iraq. There's a big debate now about whether or not the data, the intelligence data, was misleading and manipulated in order to encourage public opinion support for the war. Let me give you a statement that was talked about during the war.
"We know [Iraq is] developing unmanned vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents...all U.S. intelligence experts agree they are seek nuclear weapons. There's little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop them. ... In the wake of September 11th, who among us can say with any certainty to anybody that those weapons might not be used against our troops, against allies in the region? Who can say that this master of miscalculation will not develop a weapon of mass destruction even greater--a nuclear weapon. ..."
Are those the statements that you're concerned about?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, I am concerned about it, and that's why I believe that the actions that were taken by Harry Reid in the Senate last week when effectively he said that we are going to get to the bottom of this...

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the Senate in 2002 -- let me show you who said what I just read: John Kerry, your candidate for president. He was talking about a nuclear threat from Saddam Hussein. Hillary Clinton voted for the war. John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry. Democrats said the same things about Saddam Hussein. You, yourself, said, "Saddam is dangerous. He's got dangerous weapons." It wasn't just the Bush White House.
In a word: Ouch!
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