The NY Times chronicles the attempts of Kennedy’s staff to slime Judge Alito, and offers us this glimpse behind the scenes:
Their most indefatigable strategist was James Flug, a longtime friend of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts who, at 67, was decades older than most of the other legal counsels on the Judiciary Committee staff. Mr. Flug first worked for Mr. Kennedy 35 years ago when they led a liberal minority of senators to block the Supreme Court nominations of Judges G. Harrold Carswell and Clement F. Haynsworth Jr., in both cases by mobilizing a coalition of civil rights groups and unearthing embarrassing aspects of the nominees’ records.
Among other things, several Democratic aides said, Mr. Flug drove the investigation into Judge Alito’s failure to recuse himself, as he had pledged to do during his court of appeals confirmation hearing, from cases involving his mutual fund company, Vanguard. But Mr. Flug met with polite skepticism from many of his colleagues.
“You are going to ask more questions about that oversight where Alito made no money?” a staff member for another Democratic senator said he asked Mr. Flug.
“It became clear to us early on,” the staff member added, “that the guy may be way too far right for our tastes, but we think the guy is a man of honor.”
That is basically how I see it. I don’t really care for many of his views, and he is too far to the right for my tastes on some issues, and I think his liberal opposition is accurate on his views of executive power and his deference to government authority, but I don’t think he is evil and I don’t think he should be filibustered. If I were a Senator, I would have wavered back and forth on whether to vote for him, but I would not have supported a filibuster.