A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Monday, January 09, 2006

Absolutely Right

AP: Alito to Senate: Good Judge Has No Agenda---

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito told senators Monday that good judges don't have an agenda, don't look for partisan outcomes and always "do what the law requires" as the Senate opened hearings on President Bush's choice for the high court.

"A judge can't have any agenda. A judge can't have a preferred outcome in any particular case," Alito told the Judiciary Committee in a brief statement in which he made a distinction between judges and attorneys working for clients.

Alito, a conservative jurist on the federal appeals court, would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a decisive swing vote on abortion, affirmative action and death penalty cases. If confirmed, Alito would be the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice.

After listening to opening statements from the 18 members of the committee, Alito got his chance to speak and described his Italian immigrant father's background, his mother's work experience and his own academic career. He told the panel about his legal philosophy.

"The role of a practicing attorney is to achieve a desirable result for the client in the particular case at hand," Alito said. "But a judge can't think that way. 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."

In his 11-minute statement, the judge gave no indication about how he might respond to the tough questions Democrats have promised on the divisive issues of executive power, abortion and the privacy rights.

Alito said his solemn obligation is to the rule of law and that a judge must do what the law requires.

"No person in this country, no matter how high or powerful, is above the law, and no person in this country is beneath the law," he said.
Remember that last, Teddy Kennedy.