Monday, January 09, 2006

Alito's Day One and the 1960s.

Drudge has a report on the first day of the confirmation hearings for Judge Alito. I like a few quotes. The following comments from Alito are self-explanatory.
"A judge can't have any agenda, a judge can't have any preferred outcome in any particular case, and a judge certainly doesn't have a client," said Alito, the 55-year-old appeals judge who is President Bush's choice to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor for the swing seat on a divided high court.
Specter made a good observation.
A number of the opening statements by the Democrats sounded more like indictments than opening statements," he said.
Yeah, the always do. What's up with that? Is it always about 'me' for politicians?

On Nightline, they played a clip of Alito discussing his dis-ease with the behavior of his peers on college campuses in the 1960s. His complaint struck me as no surprise. What is more interesting is that the guys on ABC considered this "taking a swipe" at the 1960s, as if Alito were somehow denigrating something we all believe in. (But would they care if he burned the flag? Or, God forbid, suggested such behavior was never what was intended by the phrase 'freedom of speech.')

Their response to mild observations about the 60s say something about the guys at ABC--and their perception of viewers. Student radicals in the 1960s burned buildings, turned protests into riots, fought with campus admistrators for "a place at the table," lowered standards, succeeded in getting grades abolished and and damaged universities hundreds of years in the making.
Contrary to the way the 60s appear on TV and in countless articles by the true believers who really thought the Age of Aquarius was going to usher in a whole new world, the 1960s was primarily a time of destruction and unrest, of the throwing off of morals and societal conventions (both sides agree on that--but to some of us, a rejection of morality is not the political equivalent of a people's revolution. Alfred Kinsley and streakers and stoners and arsonists --this was not the Boston Tea Party, much less the Constitutional Convention. The decade did not produce a single George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, etcetera. And while Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks may have been heroic, they were no more in favor of campus unrest than anyone else. In other words, Alito's admittedly mild condemnation of the period had nothing whatsoever to do with the real and meaningful struggles to improve race relations in the South.)

On that note, I have got to get back to the insightful book--and chronicle of the 1960s by one who in high school had argued extensively that the government should take over all businesses (yes, he used to be a liberal)--Slouching Towards Gomorrah, by Robert Bork. He was a law professor at Yale when that school was beseiged by students and the president capitulated to various demands (for which Bork thrashes the man).

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