The Note: The State of Our Union Is . . . Confused

The first two clips in this section will surely please the White House confirmation team, but we remain confused (as we were with John Roberts): why is the right accepting such moderate nominees??!!

The Washington Post editorial board writes of Alito's record on abortion as "more complicated than the caricatures would suggest." LINK

And Democrats are having a tough time pigeonholing Alito as a right-wing ideologue, reports the Los Angeles Times, because the nominee's opinions lack sharp edges, broad pronouncements, or even a unifying conservative theme. LINK

The Washington Post's Charles Babington reported on Saturday that in his private meetings with Senators, Alito is showing more of a willingness to discuss controversial issues facing the Supreme Court -- from privacy to spousal consent to public expressions of faith to private property rights -- than were either John Roberts or Harriet Miers. LINK

The Washington Post's Jo Becker looked at Alito's sensitivity to executive power in the context of the now-defunct independent counsel law and the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act. LINK

Bob Novak columnizes that contrary to what she is telling people, former NARAL head Kate Michelman would have been exempted from Pennsylvania's spousal notification law if she had been abandoned by her husband. LINK

The New York Times' Janny Scott depicts Alito as conservative by nature, not ideology. LINK

A 600-page briefing book compiled by the White House and intended for Republican Senators claims repeatedly that Alito's opinions are well within the mainstream of the law, the Associated Press reports after obtaining a copy of the guide. LINK

In the Sunday Boston Globe Nina Easton and Tasha Robertson on "Mr. Clean." LINK

Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) comments throwing cold water on the possibility of an Alito filibuster on "This Week" broke through the Sunday chatter. LINK

The Washington Post editorial board writes of Alito's record on abortion as "more complicated than the caricatures would suggest." LINK


The Washington Post's Cooperman takes a look at the potential for a Catholic majority on the Supreme Court. LINK

Charles Lane of the Washington Post writes up some previously underreported and rare comments Justice Kennedy made about America's foreign policy. LINK

Bush Administration and agenda:

Ron Brownstein examines historical precedents in his Los Angeles Times column to determine whether the President can climb out of his hole. While there is hope for the President if he can solidify his base, Iraq threatens to undermine everything else Bush does, Brownstein says. LINK

"And even amid signs of political progress in Iraq, the insurgents' unrelenting attacks are the events most influencing U.S. public opinion. Without much greater stability in Iraq, Bush won't find it easy to restore his own balance at home."

Led by Sen. Chuck Hagel on ABC's "This Week," two key Republican Senators urged the White House yesterday to reconsider opposing the proposed ban on torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. LINK

But the Washington Times points out two other key GOP Senators – Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Orrin Hatch – defended the White House on the torture issue yesterday. LINK

Newsweek's Klaidman and Isikoff cover Cheney ground in Newsweek with Juleanna Glover Weiss praising David Addington. LINK

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