Judging from the reaction of left-wing special interest groups, Senators John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy have cemented their place as tools of well-paid liberal lobbyists.
From the time Kerry called in his filibuster from Davos, Switzerland, the left has gone ga-ga over the Democratic tag team from Massachusetts.
And despite today’s failed cloture vote — a remarkable setback given the left’s hatred of Alito — Kerry and Kennedy are being lauded. This goes to show how low the left’s goals are today: Launch the first-ever filibuster attempt on a Supreme Court nominee, and when it fails miserably, claim victory.
In addition to Ralph Neas’ People For the American Way, which was the first interest group to release a statement on the aborted filibuster, the following are more examples of the left’s lunacy.
Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron:
"Alliance for Justice commends all the senators who stood on principle to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms. The fact that so many Senators voted for extended debate demonstrates how troubling Alito’s record is. We are proud that they went the extra mile to underscore how profoundly the Alito nomination will change the Supreme Court.
"Judge Alito’s interpretation of the law has consistently placed the interests of corporations and institutions ahead of those of ordinary Americans. He has a long record of working to narrow individual rights. And perhaps most disturbing, at a time when the Bush administration is making an unprecedented assault on our system of checks and balances, Judge Alito has shown a (sic) too much deference to executive power.
"President Bush has deeply divided our nation by choosing a judge whose record was so extreme, he provoked the strongest opposition to a court nominee since Clarence Thomas. Unfortunately, Americans will feel the impact of this nomination for years to come."
Former NARAL Pro-Choice America President Kate Michelman:
"The right of every woman in this country to make decisions about her own reproductive health rather than to have decisions forced on her by judges and legislatures is the essence of Roe vs. Wade. Sixteen years after Roe, its author alerted supporters of this right that its position was tenuous, that a ‘chill wind’ could be felt in the Supreme Court. Today, that chill wind has reached hurricane status. Every person who has studied the record of Sam Alito understands that his confirmation to the Court almost certainly will terminate these fundamental rights either though the outright repeal or the evisceration of Roe.
"As an American, I am sorely disappointed by the lack of commitment to women and fundamental rights by the United State Senate. It is particularly appalling that supposedly pro-choice Senators would stand aside in parliamentary silence and allow this right — and probably many others — to be whisked away with little more than perfunctory debate.
"As a Pennsylvanian, I am particularly appalled that local and national Democrats would hand our Senate nomination to someone who openly supports giving Roe an Alito-induced death. Those whose political successes have depended on the ballots and contributions of pro-choice voters but now facilitate the career of someone who would repeal those rights deserve special enmity.
"A generation ago, women who suffered the indignities and terror of illegal abortion came forward with a commitment to be ‘silent no more.’ In light of today’s vote, those of us who walk in their footsteps should make a similar commitment. With Roe poised to fall, there is no reason to yield any more to arguments about ‘the lesser of evils.’ Evil has been visited upon us, and we should resolve to do whatever it takes to redress the grievances we feel."
National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy:
"We commend the 25 honorable senators, led by John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, who voted on principle today — choosing a valiant stand for justice over weak-kneed capitulation to George Bush’s stacking of the Supreme Court.
"Today’s vote is the only Alito vote that really counts. Votes against Alito tomorrow are irrelevant, and no senator who voted ‘Yes’ today can hide behind a ‘No’ vote tomorrow.
"Supporters of women’s rights, civil rights and the separation of powers lost this pivotal battle because senators who should have been fighting for their constituents chose not to do so. But in the process we exposed the despicable agenda of the right wing, and their unrelenting determination to undermine our rights and liberties.
"This is the first of many fights for the soul of our democracy, and we will eventually emerge victorious."
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Executive Director Wade Henderson:
"The U.S. Senate is supposed to be democracy’s model of free and open debate. In this vein, every senator should have the opportunity to address Samuel Alito’s outrageous civil rights record and his ‘outside-of-the mainstream’ views. But, instead of allowing a full, open and thorough debate, Senate leaders short circuited and shut down the opportunity for America’s citizens to hear all sides. We are proud of the 25 senators who held their ground and stood up for full debate and the protection of our individual rights and freedoms.
"Alito’s deplorable record on civil rights should be of deep concern to every member of the Senate. Throughout his career, Alito has routinely favored a reading of the law that curtails the rights of individuals, limits remedies available to them, and undermines the power of our elected officials to protect those individuals. His record clearly indicates, and his testimony only reinforces the conclusion, that he favors gutting protections for employees who have been discriminated against and putting states’ rights before the government’s ability to protect the rights of ordinary Americans.
"Opposition to Alito isn’t personal and it shouldn’t be political. This is a vitally important nomination and deserves nothing less than a real debate. America needs to hear why Alito isn’t an acceptable candidate for Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat. The Senate isn’t a rubber stamp. Those who voted for open debate today and those who are opposing this nomination are standing up for every American’s rights and freedoms and we recognize and commend their courage."