January 9, 2006: Excerpts: Senators’ Opening Statements (AP)

  • “Groups are trying to defeat your nomination because you will not support their liberal agenda. And the reason they oppose you is precisely why I support you. I want judges on the Supreme Court who will not use their position to impose a political agenda on the American people. I want judges on the Supreme Court who will respect the words and meaning of the Constitution, the laws enacted by Congress, and the laws enacted by state legislatures. … the meanings of the Constitution and other laws should not change unless the people change them. A Supreme Court appointment is not a free ticket to rewrite our laws however you and your colleagues see fit.”
  • “In an era when the White House is abusing power, is excusing and authorizing torture, and is spying on American citizens, I find Judge Alito’s support for an all-powerful executive branch to be genuinely troubling. Under the presidents spying program, there are no checks and no balances. There is no outside review of the legality of this brazen infringement on the civil rights and liberties of the American people. Undeterred by the public outcry, the president vows to continue spying on American citizens.
  • “You have a record as a brilliant but modest jurist, one who follows the law, who exercises restraint and does not use the bench as an opportunity to promote any personal or political agenda. This is exactly what I believe the American people want in a justice to the Supreme Court. It’s exactly what President Bush promised to nominate.”
  • “The Constitution provides for one democratic moment, Judge, before a lifetime of judicial independence, when the people of the United States are entitled to know as much as we can about the person that we’re about to entrust with safeguarding our future and the future of our kids. … we — you and I and this committee — owe it to the American people in this one democratic moment to have a conversation about the issues that will affect their lives profoundly. They’re entitled to know what you think.”