The Alito charade
Indeed, as Jeffrey Toobin argues in this week's New Yorker, the nominating process has been a charade since the late 80s. An excerpt:
Republican nominees have been particularly cagey about expressing a view on the fate of Roe v. Wade. Their reluctance may be as strategic as it is prudential: a recent poll shows that almost seventy per cent of the public would oppose Alito’s confirmation if he were committed to overturning Roe. (The last two Democratic nominees, Ginsburg and Breyer, made plain that they would protect a woman’s right to choose.) Politically, Alito’s silence may be golden, but it is absurd that it is tolerated. Like most candidates for public office, the eighteen senators on the Judiciary Committee went before the voters of their states with public stands on the issue of legalized abortion. Indeed, virtually all politicians in the country are expected to have a view on Roe, yet the nine individuals who can actually decide its fate are not.
Of course, the job of Justice is more than politics alone, and Alito’s career, as well as his testimony, shows him to be a man of intelligence and integrity. He’ll master the craft with ease. But it is disheartening that a matter of such importance as confirming a Supreme Court Justice is a charade—about the nature of the job, about the character of the nominee, and about a process that tells us everything except what we need to know.