A Supreme Court nomination requires a thorough look at the nominee, so there should be no rush to confirm. Also, there’s been plenty of political posturing on both sides of the aisle. I can’t count the number of times Republican senators have lobbed softball questions at Alito, to the effect of “Isn’t it the case that X person thinks you’re wonderful?” Furthermore, we know that Senator Ted Kennedy has an obligation to his constituents to be hostile towards any Republican nominees.
But Kennedy’s attempt today to sully Alito’s reputation was saddening. The links between Alito and bigotry or unethical behavior are so tenuous, and the numerous opposite testimonies about him are so clear, that it seems Kennedy is only trying to find excuses to vote against the nomination. I’m not surprised that Kennedy has apparently made up his mind in advance; I’m disappointed that he has no respect for a man’s reputation. He’s willing to destroy Alito’s reputation if it will help advance Kennedy’s political goals. I’m sure Kennedy does not bear Alito any ill will–for him besmirching someone’s character is just another move in the game. That he thinks so, and that we keep electing a man who operates that way, is sad.