Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

In case you were wondering who won the Guantanamo debate: “Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide now disagree with President Barack Obama’s decision to close the prison camp for suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted after the President’s speech on Guantanamo last week, shows that 38% agree with his decision. Just 25% share the President’s view that the Guantanamo camp weakened national security. Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree with that perspective.”

Harry Reid is flip-flop-flipping on Guantanamo closing. Perhaps Yucca Mountain is available.

Uh-oh: “In a Nov. 13 conversation recorded by the FBI, Roland Burris told Rod Blagojevich’s brother he feared he’d ‘catch hell,’ with the public if he gave the governor money at the same time he was lobbying for a Senate seat appointment. Still, Burris ends the call with a promise: ‘I will personally do something OK? And it will come to you before the 15th of December.’” What say you, Mr. Reid?

Sen. Jeff Sessions sets out the key consideration for the Supreme Court: “Of primary importance, we must determine if Ms. Sotomayor understands that the proper role of a judge is to act as a neutral umpire of the law, calling balls and strikes fairly without regard to one’s own personal preferences or political views.” Would anyone want an umpire who doubted her ability to put aside, for example, her lifelong affection for underdog teams?

And Fred Barnes rightly warns about assumptions of inevitability: “If Sotomayor emerges as a thoroughgoing activist or radical as the media and conservative interest groups research her life and career–and she reinforces this impression in her conformation hearing–it could prompt a Republican filibuster or at least an attempt to mount one.In Sotomayor’s case, the perils of the confirmation process may seem less daunting than usual. We’ll see. It’s wise to remember that this process has cut down more accomplished nominees than Sotomayor.”

A useful summary of the New Haven firefighter case in which Sotomayor tried (it turns out unsuccessfully) to hide the constitutional issues from further review. At the very least there is some explaining to do: “The problem for Sotomayor, instead, is why she didn’t grapple with the difficult constitutional issues, the ones [Clinton appointee Jose] Cabranes pointed to. Did she really have nothing to add to the district court opinion? In a case of this magnitude and intricacy, why would that be?”

The Washington Post editors provide a fair and useful summary of some of the troubling issues which the Senate should examine.

Why does Sen. Ben Nelson think card check is a “fool’s errand” that isn’t happening? According to a poll sent around by Nebraskans for Workers Rights, 64% of the state’s voters oppose card check. So it would be foolish to support it, I suppose.