Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Alito Hearings Approach

The New York Times reports on preparations for Judge Samuel Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 1 - As Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. enters his final week of dress rehearsals for his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, participants say his performance has already made one thing clear: he will never be as polished and camera-ready as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was at his own hearings a few months ago.

"He is not going to be the well-manicured nominee," said one participant in the rehearsals, known as murder boards, at which Republican lawyers have played the roles of interrogating senators. "That is not to say it is going to be worse. It is just going to be different."


"He will have a couple hairs out of place," one participant said. "I am not sure his glasses fit his facial features. He might not wear the right color tie. He won't be tanned. He will look like he is from New Jersey, because he is. That is a very useful look, because it is a natural look. He's able to go toe-to-toe with senators, and at the same time he could be your son's Little League coach."

What is more, this participant said, Judge Alito displayed a "street smart" New Jerseyan's willingness to talk back to his questioners. Unlike Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Alito often turned inquiries back on the lawyers who were quizzing him, politely asking them to spell out exactly what they meant, two participants said.

Judge Alito "had no bones about coming back for clarification," the same person said, adding that the judge sometimes stumped the legal experts acting in the roles of senators and suggesting that he could pose an even greater challenge to actual senators reading from staff talking points. Still, both participants emphasized that during the practice sessions, Judge Alito never became heated or combative.

This could be fun!

If I'm not working at the time, I'll be watching for the educational value.
In two weeks of murder boards organized last month by Rachel Brand of the Office of Legal Policy at the Justice Department, Judge Alito spoke confidently without notes, just as Chief Justice Roberts did before the committee. Like the chief justice, Judge Alito displayed an encyclopedic mastery of Supreme Court rulings. And again like the chief justice, he spoke at length without drinking from the pitcher of water or sampling the cookies on the table before him, participants said.
I would suggest that more job interviews should come with water and cookies, but there may be too many ways for that to go horribly wrong.

The hearings appear to be scheduled to begin Monday January 9th.

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April said...

I didn't get cookies at my job interview.

Nick said...

I would probably get crumbs all over myself.