Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


November 1, 2005

"It's hard for me to envision that anyone would think about filibustering this nominee," said DeWine, an Ohio Republican who sided with 13 other Republicans and Democrats earlier this year to end a Senate stalemate over judicial filibusters.

"The filibuster's on the table," Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California said after Bush announced Alito's nomination.

"The nomination of Judge Alito requires an especially long hard look by the Senate because of what happened last week to Harriet Miers. Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them. Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people," Sen. Harry Reid said.

"This controversial nominee, who would make the Court less diverse and far more conservative, will get very careful scrutiny from the Senate and from the American people," Democratic Judiciary Committee member Charles Schumer.

"There being no question about Judge Alito's accomplishments and credentials, the debate over this nomination will focus squarely on his jurisprudence. Already at least one Democratic aide reportedly called Judge Alito a "right-wing wacko." Such epithets grossly distort his record. He is not a dogmatic conservative; his record shows a man more interested in getting the law right and faithfully applying applicable precedents than scoring rhetorical points or advancing an ideological agenda. As he commented in an interview earlier this year, "Judges should be judges. They shouldn't be legislators, they shouldn't be administrators," writes the Wall Street Journal.

 "This one [Alito nomination] is going to be Armageddon," said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


J U S T   P O L I T I C S


Dean: Indict Cheney

National Democrat Chairman Howard Dean called on Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to indict Dick Cheney.

Dean cited that one of the points established by Fitzgerald's investigation is that Vice President Cheney was the source of his assistant 'Scooter' Libby's knowledge about who the CIA agent was. This, Dean claims, is enough to link Cheney as the source of who told Libby to out Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.

Dean said, "And the question is, did the vice president instruct 'Scooter' Libby to reveal that name?"

"If he did," Dean said, "the vice president is probably criminally negligent and he ought to be indicted as well."

2008 Hopefuls Update


NY Governor George Pataki records show that in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, his PAC took in $277,250. In the first quarter of the year, the PAC took in $630,475, while the second-quarter haul was $444,075. Just $56,000 of the third-quarter take came in after his July 27 announcement.


Sen. Evan Bayh (IN-D) in a recent visit to New Hampshire turned up the heat against President Bush according to the Manchester Union Leader:

"Itís been on their watch that North Korea has become a virtual assembly line for nuclear weapons ... Itís been on their watch that our military has been stretched to the breaking point," the two-term senator said at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, broadcast live on C-SPAN. "And itís been on their watch that the conflict in Iraq has been terribly, terribly mismanaged."

Bayh, whoís pondering a 2008 White House run and has nearly $8 million in his Senate war chest that could be shifted to a Presidential race, made his second appearance this year in the first Presidential primary state.

"The more the merrier," said Manchester Mayor Bob Baines, who will go campaigning door-to-door with Bayh this afternoon in Ward 2.


Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate (former Rep. Sec. of State) said that he favors Massachusetts Mitt Romney at this point. Maybe it is because Romney has the same performance and achievement measurements as the Mayor.

"'I look at what's happening in Washington and I'm sure in the realm of wish fulfillment and dreams, the Democrats are hoping that a couple of irritating bug bites that we've gotten over the past few days in Washington are going to cause us to turn around and run in the other direction,' Romney said."

Romney also offered the following regarding the indictment of Scooter Libby while in Iowa:

"I really don't think that voters ascribe to an entire party the mistake, even the serious mistake, of one party member," said Romney, making stops in Davenport and Waukee on his one-day Iowa jaunt. "People don't believe in guilt by association."

DSM Register ends Harkin pass

After weeks of published reports that Sen. Tom Harkin broke ethics laws by not reimbursing Jack Abromoffís for the use of his skybox at the Washington D.C. MCI Center, the Des Moines Register finally made mention of the scandal in Jane Normanís column:

The skyboxes and their use by members of Congress have come under scrutiny in recent months. Allison Dobson, Harkin's spokeswoman, said Harkin aides, in an "abundance of caution," took a look back at their own records and discovered they had not properly accounted for Harkin's use of them.

The skyboxes ó very nice places for a small group of deep-pocketed contributors to watch a basketball game or other event ó were offered for the Harkin campaign's use by other members of Abramoff's law firm, she said. Abramoff "had nothing to do with this event," said Dobson. The campaign mistakenly thought that the rental cost of the skyboxes did not have to be reimbursed under campaign finance rules, she said.

As it turned out, a client of Abramoff's, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, was paying for the skybox, so Harkin reimbursed the tribe $1,800 for the 2002 event and $1,900 for the 2003 event, said Dobson.

Gallup poll: military tops in public confidence

The American Forces Press Service reports that the American public has more confidence in the military than in any other institution, according to a Gallup poll [LINK]:

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed in Gallup's 2005 confidence poll said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the military - more than in a full range of other government, religious, economic, medical, business and news organizations.

This year's 74 percent confidence level exceeded that of all 15 institutions included in the 2005 survey.

Police ranked second, with 63 percent of responders expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in them.

Organized religion rated third, with 53 percent of responders expressing high confidence, and banks rated a 49 percent high-confidence rate.

The Gallup organization noted that public trust in television news and newspapers reached an all-time low this year, with 28 percent of responders expressing high confidence in them.

Supreme Court nomination: Bush and Alito transcript

Good morning. I'm pleased to announce my nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Alito is one of the most accomplished and respected judges in America, and his long career in public service has given him an extraordinary breadth of experience.

As a Justice Department official, federal prosecutor and judge on the United States Court of Appeals, Sam Alito has shown a mastery of the law, a deep commitment of justice, and a -- and he is a man of enormous character. He's scholarly, fair-minded and principled, and these qualities will serve our nation well on the highest court of the land.

Judge Alito showed great promise from the beginning in studies at Princeton and Yale Law School; as editor of the Yale Law Journal; as a clerk for a federal court of appeals judge. He served in the Army Reserves and was honorably discharged as a captain. Early in his career, Sam Alito worked as a federal prosecutor and handled criminal and civil matters for the United States. As assistant to the solicitor general, he argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court, and has argued dozens of others before the federal courts of appeals.

He served in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel providing constitutional advice for the President and the executive branch. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan named him the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, the top prosecutor in one of the nation's largest federal districts, and he was confirmed by unanimous consent by the Senate. He moved aggressively against white-collar and environmental crimes, and drug trafficking, and organized crime, and violation of civil rights.

In his role, Sam Alito showed a passionate commitment to the rule of law, and he gained a reputation for being both tough and fair. In 1990, President Bush nominated Sam Alito, at the age of 39, for the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Judge Alito's nomination received bipartisan support and he was again confirmed by unanimous consent by the United States Senate. Judge Alito has served with distinction on that court for 15 years and now has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years.

Judge Alito's reputation has only grown over the span of his service. He has participated in thousands of appeals and authored hundreds of opinions. This record reveals a thoughtful judge who considers the legal matter -- marriage carefully and applies the law in a principled fashion. He has a deep understanding of the proper role of judges in our society. He understands that judges are to interpret the laws, not to impose their preferences or priorities on the people.

In the performance of his duties, Judge Alito has gained the respect of his colleagues and attorneys for his brilliance and decency. He's won admirers across the political spectrum. I'm confident that the United States Senate will be impressed by Judge Alito's distinguished record, his measured judicial temperament, and his tremendous personal integrity. And I urge the Senate to act promptly on this important nomination so that an up or down vote is held before the end of this year.

Today, Judge Alito is joined by his wife, Martha, who was a law librarian when he first met her. Sam and I both know you can't go wrong marrying a librarian. Sam and Martha's two children, Phil and Laura, are also with us, and I know how proud you are of your dad today. I'm sure, as well, that Judge Alito is thinking of his mom, Rose, who will be 91 in December. And I know he's thinking about his late father. Samuel Alito, Sr., came to this country as an immigrant child from Italy in 1914, and his fine family has realized the great promise of our country.

Judge, thanks for agreeing to serve, and congratulations on your nomination.

JUDGE ALITO: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I am deeply honored to be nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, and I am very grateful for the confidence that you have shown in me.

The Supreme Court is an institution that I have long held in reverence. During my 29 years as a public servant, I've had the opportunity to view the Supreme Court from a variety of perspectives -- as an attorney in the Solicitor General's Office, arguing and briefing cases before the Supreme Court, as a federal prosecutor, and most recently for the last 15 years as a judge of the Court of Appeals. During all of that time, my appreciation of the vital role that the Supreme Court plays in our constitutional system has greatly deepened.

I argued my first case before the Supreme Court in 1982, and I still vividly recall that day. I remember the sense of awe that I felt when I stepped up to the lectern. And I also remember the relief that I felt when Justice O'Connor -- sensing, I think, that I was a rookie -- made sure that the first question that I was asked was a kind one. I was grateful to her on that happy occasion, and I am particularly honored to be nominated for her seat.

My most recent visit to the Supreme Court building was on a very different and a very sad occasion: It was on the occasion of the funeral of Chief Justice William Rehnquist. And as I approached the Supreme Court building with a group of other federal judges, I was struck by the same sense of awe that I had felt back in 1982, not because of the imposing and beautiful building in which the Supreme Court is housed, but because of what the building, and, more importantly, the institutions stand for -- our dedication as a free and open society to liberty and opportunity, and, as it says above the entrance to the Supreme Court, "equal justice under law."

Every time that I have entered the courtroom during the past 15 years, I have been mindful of the solemn responsibility that goes with service as a federal judge. Federal judges have the duty to interpret the Constitution and the laws faithfully and fairly, to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans, and to do these things with care and with restraint, always keeping in mind the limited role that the courts play in our constitutional system. And I pledge that if confirmed I will do everything within my power to fulfill that responsibility.

I owe a great deal to many people who have taught me over the years about the law and about judging, to judges before whom I have appeared, and to colleagues who have shown me with their examples what it means to be a fair and conscientious and temperate judge.

I also owe a great deal, of course, to the members of my family. I wish that my father had lived to see this day. He was an extraordinary man who came to the United States as a young child, and overcame many difficulties and made many sacrifices so that my sister and I would have opportunities that he did not enjoy.

As the President mentioned, my mother will be celebrating her 91st birthday next month. She was a pioneering and very dedicated public school teacher who inspired my sister and me with a love of learning. My wife, Martha, has been a constant source of love and support for the past 20 years. My children, Philip and Laura, are the pride of my life and they have made sure that being a judge has never gone to my head -- they do that very well on a, pretty much, daily basis. And my sister, Rosemary, has always been a great friend and an inspiration as a great lawyer, and as a strong and independent person.

I look forward to working with the Senate in the confirmation process. Mr. President, thank you, once again, for the confidence that you've shown in me and for honoring me with this nomination.

Chris Matthews: Democrats' disgusting Alito doc

Chris Matthews of MSNBC reported on Monday that he had obtained a 'pretty disgusting document' pertaining to new Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Here is a transcript of Matthews' comments: [LINK]

Matthews: "[I]'m sitting here holding in my hands, a pretty disgusting document, this is put out not for attribution. But it comes from the Democrats, they're circulating it. I can say that."

Matthews: "[T]hen their complaint sheet against Judge Alito's nomination. The first thing they nail About this Italian American Is He Failed to Win A Mob Conviction In A trial 20 Years Ago, Or Something Way Back In '88."

Matthews: "In other words, they nail him on not putting some Italian mobsters in jail from the [Lucchese] Family. Why would they bring up this ethnically charged issue as the first item they raise against Judge Alito?"

Matthews: "This is either a very bad coincidence or very bad politics. Either way its gonna hurt them. This document: not abortion rights, not civil rights but that he failed to nail some mobsters In 1988. This is the top of their list of what they've got against this guy. Amazingly bad politics."

Matthews: "[The Democrats Are] trying not to put a signature on it, but I just did."

(MSNBC's "MSNBC Live," 10/31/05)



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