Senate has implied duty to confirm Alito
re "Ideology Serves as a Wild Card in Senate Debate on Court Pick" (NY Times, 11/4/05)
To the Editors:
Senate Democrats intentionally misunderstand their Constitutional role regarding judicial confirmations. From the leftist Leahy to the moderate Lieberman, claims of supporting or opposing a nominee based on “ideology” have no basis in our history (before Bork) or the intent of the Founders.
The Senate is not co-equal in the process of appointing Justices to the Supreme Court. In the Federalist No. 76, Hamilton makes the Constitutional position clear: “To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would…tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.”
In other words, if neither the nominee nor the nomination process is corrupt, the Senate has an implied duty to confirm. The appointment of judges is a prerogative of winning the Presidential election. Indeed the choice of Supreme Court judges is a regular focus of campaigns.
A judge’s ideology is irrelevant unless it means the judge can not or will not rule with fidelity to the Constitution. There is no hint of corruption or an inability to follow the Constitution with Judge Alito. The Founding Fathers would tell Leahy and Lieberman that they have a duty to confirm him.
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