Servant of the Secret Fire

Random thoughts on books and life in the reality-based community

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Location: New York, United States

The name I've chosen comes from "Lord of the Rings," when Gandalf faces down the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. My Hebrew name is Esther (which is related to the word for "hidden" or "secret") Serafina (which means "burning"). This seems appropriate because although I don't usually put myself forward, I do care very passionately about a lot of things. Maybe through these blogs I can share some of these passions, as well as less weighty ideas and opinions, with others.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Judiciary Committee Vote

Unsurprisingly, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on party lines to send Alito’s nomination to the full Senate. If the Dems don’t feel justified in filibustering this one, they might as well shut up shop and leave the government to King George. This is a man who has a paper trail 20 years long and a mile wide, yet all he has to do is say, “Those were my personal opinions and I won’t let them influence my decisions,” or “I just said that to get a job, but you should believe what I’m saying to get this job.” How can believing “strongly” that the Constitution doesn’t protect the right to choose abortion be a personal opinion, and if he does believe it so strongly how can he not let it influence his opinion? The “pro-lifers” like to compare abortion to slavery - what kind of morality would permit someone who believed that slavery was against God’s law to “put that aside” when cases involving it came before him?

Also, about the so-called “unitary executive” theory - Alito claims that his interpretation of that theory is different from the standard one. Did any senator ever bother to ask him if he can cite any writings or speeches in which he explained that interpretation and drew a distinction between the way he interprets it and the way most other people seem to? If not, I would think it’s safe to assume that he does mean the same thing by it that others do - that the President is virtually a dictator.

Especially with the wiretapping revelations and Dubya’s most recent “signing statement” stating that he can essentially ignore the law when it comes to torture, if these don’t constitute the “extraordinary circumstances” under which senators can filibuster under last year’s agreement, I don’t know what does.


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