Nevada Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign rolled out the partisan scripts today in reacting to President Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Their statements are below, with annotations in italics from your skeptical pundit:
“The nomination of Judge Alito requires an especially long hard look by the Senate because of what happened last week to Harriet Miers. Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them. Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.
(And, if you missed my point, it is this: He is too radical. We don't need to find out. We already know.)
“I am disappointed in this choice for several reasons. First, unlike previous nominations, this one was not the product of consultation with Senate Democrats. Last Friday, Senator Leahy and I wrote to President Bush urging him to work with us to find a consensus nominee. The President has rejected that approach.
(And it worked out so well with Harriet Miers. I'm shocked he wouldn't ring up Sen. Reid again.)
“Second, this appointment ignores the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the Supreme Court. The President has chosen a man to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, one of only two women on the Court. For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.
(You know, an old boys club like the Senate. And if we Democrats can score points with women and Hispanics anyhow, we surely will.)
“Justice O’Connor has been the deciding vote in key cases protecting individual rights and freedoms on a narrowly divided Court. The stakes in selecting her replacement are high.
“I look forward to meeting Judge Alito and learning why those who want to pack the Court with judicial activists are so much more enthusiastic about him than they were about Harriet Miers.”
(I am sure Alito is looking forward to meeting the Senate minority leader, too, especially after Reid just called him a right-wing nutball. Or words to that effect.)
“I look forward to learning more about Judge Alito’s stance on the role of the Supreme Court and how the Constitution should be interpreted. This is one of the most important and solemn votes a senator can make, and I intend to learn as much as I can about Judge Alito before deciding which way to vote. I hope my senate colleagues will join me in calling for a fair and dignified confirmation process.”
(A fair and dignified process? Could he mean one where the Democrats just roll over and let the president have his way this time, the way conservatives such as Ensign did not with Miers because she was not, well, conservative enough? Yes, that's what he means.)