During CNN's live coverage of Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s hearing, Wolf Blitzer once again accused the Democrats -- but not Republicans -- of prejudging the nomination.
During CNN's live January 11 coverage of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer again accused Democrats -- but not Republicans -- of prejudging Alito's nomination. "Some Democrats are delivering an early verdict on Alito's performance," Blitzer declared, as the onscreen text read "Democrats" and "Early Judgements [sic]." Later, Blitzer suggested that Democrats were using the hearings to mount a case against Alito, rather than to assess his fitness for elevation to the Supreme Court. Blitzer asked: "Are [Democrats] looking for answers? Or for the Supreme Court nominee to stumble?" But Blitzer made no similar comments about Republicans, several of whom have showered Alito with praise and asked him fawning questions.
Similarly, on January 10, Blitzer asked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) if he had "already made up [his] mind" to oppose Alito, but Blitzer declined to ask Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) whether he had already decided to support the nominee, as Media Matters for America noted.
From CNN's January 11 coverage of the Alito hearing:
BLITZER: Some Democrats are delivering an early verdict on Alito's performance. They say his testimony has been too vague, and even contradictory. We'll be watching as the judge tries again to make his case in the hours ahead.
BLITZER: It's 11 a.m. here in Washington, and Democrats are trying again to get more out of Judge Alito. Are they looking for answers? Or for the Supreme Court nominee to stumble?
From Sen. Lindsey O. Graham's (R-SC) opening statement:
GRAHAM: It's possible you could talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it. So I won't even try to challenge you along those lines. I feel very comfortable with you being on the Supreme Court based on what I know.
GRAHAM: I expect that most all of us, if not all of us, will vote for you. And I would argue that we represent from the center line to the right ditch in our party and, if all of us vote for you, you've got to be pretty mainstream.
From Sen. Charles R. Grassley's (R-IA) opening statement:
GRASSLEY: I want to remind the American people, this nominee, Judge Alito, has been confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate, not once, but twice. This is a tremendous record of accomplishment and public service, equal to any Supreme Court nominee that I've considered in 25 years I've been on this committee. Not only that, Judge Alito has a reputation for being an exceptional and honest judge devoted to the rule of law, as well as being a man of integrity.
From Sen. Jon L. Kyl's (R-AZ) opening statement:
KYL: It appears to me that you easily fit into the mold of what this nation has come to expect from Supreme Court justices: a first-rate intellect, demonstrated academic excellence, a life of engagement with serious constitutional analysis, and a reputation for fair-mindedness and modesty. These are the standards for a Supreme Court justice, and you plainly meet these expectations. As a consequence, I view your nomination with a heavy presumption in favor of confirmation.
From Sen. Jeff Sessions's (R-AL) opening statement:
SESSIONS: The Senate does have an obligation to make inquiry, and they'll do so. I just hope and truly believe that when the end comes to these hearings, your answers will be heard, the charges that I've heard made that I know will be rebutted, people will listen and see the answers that you give. And when they do, they'll feel great confidence in you as a member of the Supreme Court.
SESSIONS: I look forward to a vigorous hearing. I'm confident this nominee has the skills and graces to make an outstanding Supreme Court justice.
From Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) questioning of Alito:
CORNYN: And would it be fair to say that you and Judge [A. Leon] Higginbotham, while you served together, you tend to look at the Constitution differently? In other words, could he fairly be described as a liberal?
ALITO: I think probably most people would describe him that way.
I thought we got along very well and we generally agreed. There were cases in which we disagreed, cases in which I dissented from an opinion that he wrote, and I think there were cases in which he dissented from opinions that I wrote.
CORNYN: Well, I wonder if you're aware of one thing that he was quoted as having said. This is out of the Los Angeles Times, comments he made about you to Judge Timothy Lewis. Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, quote, "Sam Alito is my favorite judge to sit with on the court. He's a wonderful judge and a terrific human being. Sam Alito is my kind of conservative. He is intellectually honest. He doesn't have an agenda. He is not an ideologue."
Were you aware that Judge Higginbotham had said that about you?
ALITO: No, I wasn't. I was not.
CORNYN: Well, I'm pleased to tell you he did say it, according to the Los Angeles Times. And I think it's a high compliment that someone who would have, perhaps, such a divergent view and, perhaps, different political beliefs than you would say those sorts of things about you and your record on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.