Judiciary Committee to Vote on Alito by September [sic] 17, Specter Hopes

Over at How Appealing Howard links to this Newsday article, in which there is a humorous typo (one hopes) about concluding the hearings and taking a committee vote on Judge Alito’s nomination by September.

More significantly, it notes that the Republicans are expected to continue to stress Judge Alito’s qualifications and the rating the ABA has given him. This seems awfully short-sighted to me. The Republicans want to say to Democrats, “Even your shill organization likes this guy,” but in effect Republican use of the ABA ranking will legitimize the rankings — exactly the result the Republicans do not want for the long term, because of the ABA’s (at least perceived) liberal bias. The more Republicans argue that one’s qualifications should be enough to ensure confirmation, the more difficult it will be to oppose liberal but qualified nominees from Democratic presidents. Senate Republicans should be preparing for that eventuality now instead of just focusing on the present.

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1 Response

  1. Simon says:

    This was discussed recently – with much hyperventilating all round – at ConfirmThem, but the point is made that Senate Judiciary Committee Rule of Procedure I(3) allows that:

    At the request of any Member, or by action of the Chairman, a bill, matter, or nomination on the agenda of the Committee may be held over until the next meeting of the Committee or for one week, whichever occurs later.

    What is at issue is the request by Dems for a one week delay. However, the plain language – devoid of precedents, because I don’t have a copy of Riddick to hand – suggests that the Dems could indeed delay procedings for eight weeks. Which isn’t September, but it is a serious delay.

    I wonder if this is possible, and I also wonder if Rule I(3) is not in some tension with Rule IV(1); the former permits any member of the committee to hold “until the next meeting of the Committee or for one week, whichever occurs later . . . a bill, matter, or nomination on the agenda of the Committee.” The latter, though, permits the Chair a non-debatable prerogative to bring “a matter before the Committee to a vote.” I don’t know what the precedents are on this rule, or even if this tension is entirely of my own imagining, but it seems to me that Rule I(3) permits a committee member to delay a business item on the committee agenda, i.e. when it is heard by the committee, but not on a vote for that business item. In other words, as a purely textual matter, speculatively, I can’t help wonder if maybe the Dems could delay the commencement of hearings, but not the final vote?