When it comes to Supreme Court justices, any honest observer of American politics will concede that Liberals are less willing to compromise than are Conservatives. Despite her credentials as a fully committed advocate of far-left causes, the overwhelming majority of a Republican-controlled Senate voted in favor of confirming Ruth Bader Ginzburg. The issue, it seems, was not her ideological position but her competence. The same standard will not be applied to Sam Alito. In the end, despite his eminent qualifications to sit on the High Court, he will be confirmed by a far smaller majority than Ginzburg’s confirmation managed to muster.
Liberals will of course offer that Alito is “out of the mainstream” or that he is less qualified than Ginzburg. Neither contention bears up under even the most cursory analysis. The first rests on the preposterous assumption that no one on the left is out of the mainstream, only those on the right are. Indeed, the very charge seems to suggest that the left is the judge of what is mainstream and what is not. The second contention is simply absurd and deserves no further comment. It could only be made by those who have not bothered to look at Judge Alito’s record in any fair manner.
So what are we left to conclude? Why will a highly qualified judge on the political right receive significantly fewer votes for confirmation than a merely qualified judge on the political left? The answer lies in the different interpretations that liberals and conservatives give to the word “values.” When conservatives speak of values, they mean personal moral and ethical values such as honesty, integrity, trust-worthiness, and the like. When liberals speak of values, they have in mind good public policy. Since Alito advocates policy with which they disagree, don’t expect many Democrats to vote for his confirmation.