Monday, January 09, 2006

Alito Hearings Begin

The Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito began today. The schedule can be found in this AP story. The Senate schedule can be found here, but not with the same level of detail. All times are Eastern.


Noon EST: The committee convenes and senators begin 10-minute opening statements.

3:15 p.m.: afternoon break.

3:45 p.m.: Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman introduce Alito.

4 p.m.: Alito is sworn in and makes opening statement.


9:30 a.m.: Questioning begins with each of the committee's 18 senators getting a 30-minute round. It will continue into night, with a dinner break from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.


9:30 a.m.: 20-minute rounds of questioning Alito begin.

7 p.m. Questioning resumes after a dinner break. If questioning is completed, the committee will go into closed session to review Alito's FBI background check.


9:30 a.m.: More questioning of Alito or closed session if necessary. Questioning of outside witnesses.


The confirmation hearing continues, if necessary.

Monday, Jan. 16:

Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; no committee meeting.

Tuesday, Jan. 17:

The committee meets.

Out of boredom, I've wandered away from the monologues a few times. So far Republicans seem generally positive, noting Judge Alito's qualifications and pointing out that he would be the first former federal prosecutor on the Court. Democrats are asking many questions that the nominee will not and should not answer.

One of the more amusing moments was a few minutes ago when Senator Schumer complained that Harriet Miers, having withdrawn her nomination, would not get an up or down vote. I'm guessing that he is bitterly disappointed that she withdrew before he had the chance attack her uncertain qualifications himself.

A while earlier, a racist Senator complained about Alito's European ancestry. A genital-counting Senator complained that the number of women on the Court will be cut in half because of Justice O'Connor's retirement. Senators also enjoy fawning over O'Connor out of what appears to be a fear of legal clarity - preferring a "swing vote" over a principled one.

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