The conduct of Senate Democrats can be explained by my philosophy on women – no matter what you do, they’ll never be satisfied.

As evidence, I submit their attitude toward judicial nominees’ and Roe v. Wade. Democrats have adamantly opposed many of Bush’s nominees, despite any qualifications he/she may have had, whom they perceived as having an ideological agenda toward Roe. Nonetheless, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Planned Parenthood’s rottweiler on the Senate Judiciary Committee, pressed Alito to do exactly that – go on record as having an ideological agenda toward the landmark case.

Senate Democrats, whose marriage to pro-choice lobbyists makes the relationship between Bush and business interests look like nothing but a drunken hookup, tried to get Alito to describe Roe as “settled law.” Conversely, as a party hack for the Reagan White House – a noble calling, indeed – Alito made anti-Roe comments concurrent with Reagan policy. Ultimately, Alito disavowed both of these ideological points of view and duly described Roe as an “important precedent”earlier this month.

There is no reason to define this answer as “evasive” or “frustrating” as many Democrats have described Alito’s testimony. This response reflects his belief in stare decisis, the belief in the important, yet not absolute, role that past decisions play in deciding cases in this country.

A nominee might be inclined to state a few decisions as settled law, such as Brown v. Board and Baker v. Carr, because such decisions, as Alito mentioned, are, “not within the legitimate scope of Constitutional debate any longer.” Describing those two cases as settled wouldn’t have the effect of deciding a case before it comes to court. For Baker, even though the court may see reapportionment cases, Alito’s belief that “one person, one vote” is settled law, by itself, wouldn’t be sufficient to decide most of them because of their partisan or racial dimensions. Conversely, Alito felt the statement, “Roe v. Wade is settled law” could be more easily construed as the words of a judge who has prematurely decided a case – if a case concerning abortion rights came about, he would have already made up his mind.

Considering the debate surrounding executive powers, Roe may be a bagatelle in the framework of the Alito confirmation. However, coercing a judge to decide a case prematurely will unnecessarily add a ideological dimension to the judiciary. Senate Democrats fail to realize that the statement “Roe v. Wade is settled law” is the equivalent of conservative jurists who have already drafted anti-Roe opinions before even being appointed to a court. Both cases are equally unusual and uncomfortable for the paradigm of an indepedent judiciary that this nation requires.

Scott can be reached at tscott@campustimes.org.



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