President Bush pleased the right by nominating Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court yesterday. Though not all politicians were happy with the decision.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said, “The Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.”
Is Samuel Alito really a rebel with a cause? MSNBC-TV's Tucker Carlson talked to Bush critic and the host of "Democracy Now," Amy Goodwin, about how far, if at all, the left should go to question the president's pick.
TUCKER CARLSON, SITUATION HOST: The president campaigned in this last election, which I know you followed quite closely, as someone who would appoint a Supreme Court justice in the mold of Clarence Thomas and Justice Scalia. It looks like he‘s done that. You can‘t be surprised.
AMY GOODMAN, AUTHOR, “THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULERS”: I think that there was a pretty good consensus that he was going to replace Sandra Day O‘Connor with someone of like mind.
CARLSON: Wait, wait, wait, a consensus among whom?
GOODMAN: I mean, I think there was the expectation...
CARLSON: By whom?
GOODMAN: ... to be fair — well, I thought it was interesting how you introduced this, and I — talking about his mother, Judge Alito‘s mother. I do think mother knows best. So her saying that, of course, he‘s against abortion is very significant. I actually don‘t think that...
CARLSON: Wait, wait. Hold on. I‘m sorry to stop you there. I hate interrupting people. Let‘s just go back to something you said a minute ago.
There‘s an expectation, you said, that he would appoint someone essentially like a liberal Republican, like Sandra Day O‘Connor. I guess my original point to you Bush was elected by the majority of Americans on the promise that he would do no such thing, that he would appoint, in fact, an open conservative like Justice Scalia. So, again, I don‘t know where this expectation comes from, and how can you say you‘re surprised, because he said he was going to do it?
GOODMAN: I didn‘t say I was surprised. Nothing that George Bush does surprises me.
CARLSON: Liberals thought he should appoint a liberal, and he didn‘t. They can‘t really be mad, can they?
GOODMAN: I think what matters here is what the Supreme Court is going to look like. That is what people are going to fight for on either side.
Actually, I don‘t think people are disagreeing on what Judge Alito represents. You have Operation Rescue saying that he will put the court on the fast track to derailing Roe v. Wade, and you have pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood Federation of America completely agreeing and saying that they will fight this right to the end.
GOODMAN: There, in the cases of other people who have been put forward, it was not exactly clear where they stood. I think it‘s very clear where Judge Alito stands, and the American people have to decide if he represents the mainstream of America.
On the issue of choice, and there are other issues to discuss like, for example, in the death penalty, effectiveness of counsel, but on the issue of choice, most people in this country are for women‘s right to choose.
CARLSON: I don‘t think that‘s a completely honest characterization, but leaving that, let‘s not even get into the question of abortion.
Just a second ago, you said, we know all this about Judge Alito. We will know a lot about Judge Alito, but his nomination is, what, 12 hours old? I mean, how much do we really know? Not so much. Everyone is getting press releases on e-mail and all that, but we don‘t have a deep understanding of his judicial philosophy. We can‘t.
GOODMAN: Tucker, he‘s not 12 hours old. Yes, this nomination is, but he has a record, and there is a paper trail, and you can evaluate his record. He has a right to his own opinions, of course, but now the process begins where you look at case-by-case where he has taken a stand.
What‘s very interesting is, even with other conservative judges, people like, for example, Michael Chertoff, who is now head of the Department of Homeland Security, really rebuking him over, very much disagreeing with him over the issue of rubber stamping police powers around people‘s rights.
This is of grave concern right now, when you have a mother with her two kids walking near a house that supposedly is a known drug location, and because they‘re in the vicinity, they...
CARLSON: No — and that‘s of grave concern to me, too. You know, that‘s very troubling. I completely agree with you.
But let‘s get back to the process here, because we‘re going to have a lot of time to talk about what his beliefs are. I‘m not convinced we really know, but we will. The process itself. You host a show called “Democracy Now.” You‘re in favor of democracy; so am I.
Is it the most Democratic possible process that Judge Alito be voted on by the full Senate, which is, of course, voted on by the full country? Isn‘t that what should happen?
GOODMAN: It‘s interesting, Tucker. I didn‘t know what your view is on Harriet Miers. Did you feel that they should have been able to do up or down vote on her?
CARLSON: Nobody prevented in the Congress a vote on Harriet Miers. Harriet Miers withdrew under pressure from the White House. But the Senate didn‘t get in the way. They were absolutely willing, both sides were willing, as far as I could tell, to have a vote on her, which is how it ought to be.
GOODMAN: But I mean, I thought what was interesting was that conservative activists deeply cared about this issue, and they wanted her out. They weren‘t voting, waiting for any up or down vote.
CARLSON: They‘re not in the Congress. I‘m just asking you, as someone who‘s advocating a position on one side or the other, I never said that Harriet Miers should not be voted on. I didn‘t feel that way.
But I‘m assuming that you think, as an advocate of democracy, that this guy, Judge Alito ought to be voted on by the people‘s representatives? Right?
GOODMAN: I think that there has to be full investigation of his views, and I‘m looking forward to really going through, hearing people on all sides talk about what his views are.
I don‘t actually hear much dissent right now or disagreement over what he represents. It‘s just a matter of whether he represents the majority views of people in this country, or is he so outside the mainstream that he would take it down a path. Well, Operation Rescue said it very well.
CARLSON: But who cares what they say? They‘re an interest group. They‘re not involved in this. I want to ask you what you think, however.
Isn‘t the best way to determine what the majority of people in this country believe is put this man and his beliefs to a vote of the representatives the whole country voted on, the Senate? Isn‘t that the whole reason we have representative government, so they can speak for us? Why not let them in this case? Why short-circuit it?
GOODMAN: If only the senators of this country actually spoke for the people of this country. Look at when it comes to war, no, unfortunately, Democrats often join with Republicans in icing out dissent and not representing most people‘s views. We just passed the 2,000 soldier mark, and that‘s not just pro-war Republicans‘ problem. That‘s also pro-war Democrats‘ problem.
CARLSON: Certainly. Thank you for pointing that out, by the way.
GOODMAN: Right. So if only senators represented most people‘s views.
CARLSON: It‘s the best we have. It‘s better than anyone else has, and you can still vote them out if you want to, and some of them deserve it. I hope you do vote them out.