Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Democrats Break Promise on Alito Vote

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have broken their promise to have the committee on the Alito nomination today.

Under the terms of the November arrangement presented to reporters by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter and ranking Democrat Patrick J. Leahy, Republicans agreed to conduct the confirmation hearings after the [Christmas]holidays and Democrats agreed to allow a committee vote on the nomination today.

The only conditions for violating the agreement mentioned at the time by Mr. Leahy was "if something extraordinary comes up that neither Senator Specter nor I anticipate or expect."

Of course, the Democrats knew when they made the deal that the vote was scheduled for the day after Martin Luther king Day.

What reason did Sen. Leahy give for breaking the promise?

Yesterday, Mr. Leahy was not claiming that anything extraordinary had come up. The only explanation he has offered is that Democrats didn't want to cut short their Martin Luther King Day holiday.

But, according to his office, the November agreement was not binding anyway because it wasn't in writing.

What ever happened to the quaint notion that a man's word is his bond? (By the way, contracts do not need to be in writing in order to be binding. Even if this agreement had been put in writing, are you naive enough to believe that the Democrats would have kept their word?) What guarantee do we have that the Democrats will not engage in further delay?

In a statement yesterday, Mr. Leahy promised that Democrats on the committee will make no further attempts to delay the nomination.

But when he appeared at the press conference with Mr. Specter on Nov. 3, Mr. Leahy gave the same assurances.

In other words, all bets are off. Among Democrats, partisanship triumphs over honor and integrity. The next time that anyone claims that the Republicans are more partisan, remind them of this breach of promise by the Democrats. The next time any Senate Democrat makes a promise, get it in writing.

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