Sen. Russ Feingold's biggest gripe with Judge Alito's integrity is the old yarn about his investment in Vanguard mutual funds. This accusation is already warmed over from the months of scrutiny of Alito's record: judges are encouraged to invest in mutual funds precisely because doing so avoids conflict of interests. Alito (rightly) didn't recuse himself from a case involving Vanguard because he's their customer, not an investor. Their success or failure in a case has no bearing on the worth of his investment in their funds.
The Spectacle Blog
Howard Dean spoke way too soon about the Democrats being lily white and pure on accepting money from the Jack Abramoff. We're hearing that that the Democratic campaign committees in both the House and the Senate are running full audits to find out just have much they have accepted.
Senator Harry Reid apparently reached out to Dean and told him to keep his mouth shut. Dean, according to DNC sources, believes the Abramoff story has traction, based on what the party is seeing out in the states. We shall see.
The upshot, though, is that Democrats can only attack Jack Abramoff for so long before a number of prominent Democratic activists/lobbyists/fundraisers come under close scrutiny.
Just another reason to subscribe to The American Spectator, Joe Biden, our fave all around bad guy Democrat Senator, just said told soon-to-be Justice Alito that he should be "proud" to be a subscriber to The American Spectator and National Review.
I guess our political contributions to him are paying off. (Just kidding!)
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House Republicans thrash in search of a new leadership team. Sam Alito stands before the fully armed Judiciary Committee firing squad, with a trembling Leader Bill Frist in the wings, fearing a direct hit and the offensive of a filibuster he cannot break. Meanwhile the natural successor to the lame duck President Bush, Dick Cheney, spends more hours in the hospital, suggesting a crisis even before the nasty battle for succession in the winter spring of 2008.
Just as we are mulling Blunt's standing, Rep. Jack Kingston (GA) endorses him. Kingston is a bellwether for conservatives.
Folks on the House who are having a tough time seeing where the Pence announcement plays out elsewhere.
The assumption was that if Rep. Roy Blunt were leading John Boehner in "whip counts" for the Leader position, the House Republican Whip position, which Blunt currently holds, would be a wide open race for conservatives. With Pence stepping aside, the Whip job appears to be now Eric Cantor's, assuming Blunt ascends. "It's odd that Pence would take himself out this early in the game, but perhaps he's hearing a count that indicates Blunt is not doing well,. and the Whip job isn't going to be open."
That is not the case, according to two GOP operatives who cover the House, and who say that Blunt's whip operation is reporting strong responses, and a firm belief that Blunt is ahead of Boehner in the count.
Pence's committee, the Republican Study Group, would, on its face, be a natural spot for Blunt to find strong support. Where that group's members go will be a strong indicator of where Blunt ends up.
It's disappointing news, but quite understandable that Pence wouldn't seek the post if he's lacking the support. He avoids a likely bruising loss, and builds his reputation and support for next time.
Rep. Mike Pence has decided not to seek a leadership post. A "Dear Colleague" letter is circulating now.
Things are moving fast. No sooner does Republican Study Group Chair, Rep. Mike Pence, appear to weaken as a leadership candidate than Rep. John Boehner begins to chip away at the RSC.
This morning, Rep. Gresham Barrett (SC), a member of the group, and vice chair of the GOP class of 2004, endorsed Boehner for leader. This is significant only in that the RSC is viewed as a leading conservative base in the House.
The more moderate wing of the Republican caucus, most visibly represented by the "Tuesday Group" intends to hold interviews with both Boehner and Blunt and whomever else might choose to run for the slot at the end of the month.
Having lost his witness who was prepared to attack Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for his activities at Princeton University 30 years ago, we've learned that Sen. Patrick Leahy is looking to add a new witness to replace him.
Last Friday Leahy lost Stephen R. Dujack after it was revealed that, among other things, he equated the eating of meal with meat to the Holocaust. Dujack was a Princeton alum, who was prepared to attack Alito for his membership in a Princeton alumni group.
Now, Leahy's staff is looking to add to its panelists another Princeton alum to attack Alito for his time at Princeton: Prof. Sally Frank, currently a teacher at Drake University, and a Princeton grad in 1980. Frank was a well-known campus political activist who protested -- among other things -- apartheid in South Africa and the failure of Princeton to provide locks on bathrooms. She is best known for her lawsuits to make Princeton's famous eating clubs co-ed.
A Democratic Judiciary Committee staffer says no decision has been made on adding Frank.