Hijinks and drinking games at the Alito confirmation

Reading and listening to the speechifying, as opposed to actual questioning, being conducted by Senators Kennedy, Biden, Durbin, Leahy, Feinstein, Feingold and others — and Justice Alito’s largely stoic response — puts me in mind of some of the (regrettable) drinking games from my college days.

The point of games like Buzzz, Indian and Cardinal Puff were to give the contestants an apparently easy task to do or repeat, but complicate it with innumerable distractions or bizarre behavior in order to cause a slip. That has to be the explanation for the embarrassing behavior of these senators as they ramble, ramble, drone, hem and haw their way through their “questions” as if this was billable time for them. They’re apparently hoping to so benumb the nominee that he might lose his focus and slip with a comment (such as “are you on drugs?”) that they can exploit. It’s a desperate strategy that shows how weak their position must be; certainly if they had a valid legal point or argument they’d have brought it to the fore by now — if not to dismantle the nominee, at least for the sake of their own credibility.

Instead of a debate this has turned into a test of endurance which Justice Alito should be able to weather as long as his ears don’t begin to bleed. Meanwhile the Kenneday, et al, are coming across like lubricated frat boys trying to outdo each other in coming up with hazing tactics. Meanwhile Sam Alito, the supposed right wing freak, is looking as sober as — well, as a judge.

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