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Sen. Biden Suggests Scrapping Hearings
Yahoo News/AP
January 12, 2006

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominees are so mum about the major legal issues at their Senate confirmation hearings that the hearings serve little purpose and should probably be abandoned, Democratic Sen. Joe Biden said Thursday.

"The system's kind of broken," said Biden, a member of the Judiciary Committee considering the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito.

"Nominees now, Democrat and Republican nominees, come before the United States Congress and resolve not to let the people know what they think about the important issues," such as a president's authority to go to war, said Biden.

As the committee headed into its fourth day of hearings on the Alito nomination, Biden told NBC's "Today" show that a better solution might be to skip hearings and send nominations straight to the Senate floor for a vote.

"Just go to the Senate floor and debate the nominee's statements," the Delaware senator said, "instead of this game."

That was once standard practice. Until 1925, Supreme Court nominees were not expected to testify before a committee, and their nominations were sent straight to the floor, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Biden defended Democratic senators' questions about Alito's membership in a university group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton, known for its opposition to opening the school to women and bringing in more minorities. Alito's wife, Martha-Ann Bomgardner, was moved to tears during the hearing Wednesday because of questions concerning whether her husband held any bias against women or minorities.

"I take him at his word that he didn't know what the group stood for, but I'm required to ask him," Biden said. He said membership in the group raised questions about "how sensitive he is to the plight of women."

Even Judge Bork says these hearings are worthless - he says, the purpose is to get confirmed, not to answer questions. The media knows this truth, so instead of attacking Alito for not answering questions, they attack the democrats. Dems are using their time to explain to the American people why this man is unfit for office. If they had a brain, they wouldn't waste any time asking question - he won't answer them truthfully anyway.

Alito swore to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." Then he simply ignores the question or lies. These hearing could have value if the chairman of the committee had the balls to force the nominee to answer the question. But Specter is as worthless as they come. Telling the truth has become such an obscure concept to the GOP that they don't see a problem with lying or not answering questions under oath.