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Alito Borks Kennedy

By Robert E. Meyer

February 7, 2006

"Robert Bork's Americas a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, children could not be taught about evolution."


This was the opening salvo launched by Sen. Ted Kennedy in his successful crusade against Judge Robert Bork, perhaps one of the greatest legal minds of our time. It is the primary reason why pseudo-conservative Anthony Kennedy's swing vote will often tilt the modern Supreme Court away from an Oringinalist consensus, in spite of the additions of Justices Roberts and Alito.


But when Kennedy resorted to his bombastic bar room bravado this time, he found his glass empty. The "Bull Run" that the Confederates used so well at Manassas, fell short at Gettysburg. History repeated itself in the person of Ted Kennedy, when his rousing call for a filibuster against Alito became the victim of broken ranks in his weary, pathetic political party. What goes around comes around Senator Kennedy.


In the Senate chambers, the red faced Kennedy looked more forlorn than the caricature of William Jennings Bryan in final courtroom scene of the movie "Inherit the Wind." Kennedy was the classic “broken man” at his wits end, ranting and raving like an inmate retired to Bedlam. Kennedy indeed looked strange without a straightjacket.


Kennedy thrashed about like the proverbial heavyweight, a decade past his prime, who throws wildly inaccurate haymakers, only to stumble and plop down on the canvas in exhaustion. You couldn't help feeling sorry for him, even if you despise him. If conniptions were a new gymnastics event, Kennedy would score a perfect 10.


Like the confession that Perry Mason extracted from the real killer at the conclusion of each episode, Kennedy spilled his guts about his vision for the Supreme Court and judicial activism. It is they who have guided the movement of social progress, not the President or the Congress, he pointed out. Separation of powers be damned! The Supreme Court should be commissioned as the Peace Corps.


During the early stages of the Alito confirmation, Kennedy referred to Alito as "Judge Alioto." Kennedy claimed that Alito had never rendered a legal decision favorable to minorities. Not only did Senator Kennedy's hired hands welsh in their legal research chores, but Kennedy apparently left what was left of his heart in San Francisco. The only Alioto's I ever heard of is a seafood restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf.


Head Honcho Ted, along with fellow Blazing Saddle hombres, Al Gore and John Kerry, form the Three Screamin’ Amigos. They are proving to be greatest trio for verbal political buffoonery since "The Three Stooges Went to Washington" premiered. What a toss-up it will be when it comes time to award the “hissy fit” of the year honors.


What I find so puzzling, is that Kennedy purports to speak for the “little guy,” for the downtrodden, for disenfranchised Americans without a voice. But who is this a description of, if not the unborn? How one dichotomizes and rationalizes away the need to speak for them is something I can’t fathom. Via his chosen method for championing the causes of his constituencies, he defames decent people viciously and relentlessly. There is madness to his method.


One might suppose that his potentially career ending incident as a young Senator in 1969, which he miraculously survived both politically and legally, should have had a humbling effect on his character and demeanor. But Kennedy continued on throughout his perpetual incumbency,  escaping like a political Houdini from one embarrassing incident to another, without a hint of shame.


Alito beat Kennedy at his own game, by standing dignified against a barrage of abominable personal assaults, that Mrs. Alito herself could bear only by slipping out when the attacks got too surreal. I could never have done that. Were it me in Alito’s spot, I would have conceded that I would never have been able get the votes of the liberals on the Judiciary Committee. I would have made them earn their votes for disconfirmation. Alito, like Roberts ran intellectual rings around this gaggle of legal amateurs, who were as effective as the wooden figurines that once kept vigil in front of cigar stores.


Senator Kennedy, you have been Borked by Alito, or maybe you have just been “Alitoed.”


Robert E. Meyer

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