28 January, 2006

Mod Squad Stays The Course

Unlike our good buddy Atrios, I don't see a problem with Ken Salazar joining [link] with Senator Pryor's announcement that "there is not a smoking gun in [Samuel Alito's] past that would warrant 'extraordinary circumstances' and subsequently a filibuster against his nomination." I also am pleased that he will join Pryor in voting against Alito's confirmation due to the fact that "Alito will move the Supreme Court outside the mainstream of American law."

As a moderate Democrat, there are times when I have to hold my nose and accept that some bad things happen. The probability of there being a Supreme Court Justice named Samuel Alito is definately one of those times. I would not have expected a conservative president to nominate someone who was a judicial moderate to the highest court in the nation. Yet Alito isn't even the caliber of current Chief Justice Roberts, who at least possesses a degree of respect for his ideological opposites, both on the Court and off. I do not see any such personality trait from anything I've seen/read from/about Alito, and that saddens me. Truth be told, it scares the ever-loving crap out of me that the man appears to be of a worse philosophical bent than Scalia. (At least Scalia has a sense of humor that he willingly displays in public. And a good one, too!)

But even more important to me is the simple fact that Salazar willingly joined the Senate's Mod Squad. Fourteen members, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, created a new force to be reckoned with in the upper house. Indeed, an entirely new caucus was born on that day when the Gang of 14 agreement was reached. Regardless of party standing, I find it most important that the ideological radicals in either party do not take firm control of the government. That was one of the reasons why I started declaring myself to be a moderate in the first place, and anything that brings a voice of moderation to the political process is something I support wholeheartedly. And to violate the agreement would be to completely revoke any progress that has been made towards moderacy and bipartisanship in the Senate.

This brings me to the Gang of 14 agreement itself, as it applies to the Alito Nomination. And I quote:
Nominees should be filibustered only under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.
Samuel Alito is not an "extrordinary circumstance." He is well qualified, even in my view. He is literate, intelligent, and a strong jurist. Whether or not I can agree with the man in any political viewpoint is immaterial to his qualifications.

Senator Salazar, stay the course. Vote to invoke cloture, and vote against the confirmation of Samuel Alito. Do not allow the most vocal and ideological of Democratic party members to sway you into making the wrong choice, both for yourself and for the nation as a whole. We need the moderate voice in Washington, particularly in this time of extreme partisanship, and I am proud to have you as my voice in the Senate.

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