The Democrats are down to perhaps their final play in the Alito confirmation process, and it’s going to be a Hail Mary. The Dems, led by Senator Kennedy, are going to rely on Judge Alito’s membership in the conservative Princeton alumni group, CAP. But they understand that this approach, in itself, is a loser. Few care whether Alito joined such a group more than 30 years ago or listed it on a resume 20 years ago.
For those interested in ancient history, it seems clear that Alito joined the group to protest the elimination of ROTC from campus and never renounced his membership because, unlike Bill Bradley and William Frist, he had no poltical aspirations and thus no clear need to disassociate himself from a politically incorrect group that, in addition to supporting ROTC, was not happy with co-education (or perhaps just the way Princeton was implementing it) and racial preferences for minority applicants. Again, no big deal. The desirability of co-education and racial preferences were fair objects for debate.
Thus, Kennedy is trying to change the playing field by demanding access to the papers of William Rusher, the prominent conservative of yesteryear who apparently helped found the group. The Dems main hope may be that the papers will contain something that contradicts Alito’s testimony that his involvement in the group was limited. This seems most unlikely, though. Kathryn Lopez at NRO recalls that the New York Times apparently has already looked at the papers and found nothing that would contradict Alito’s characterization of his involvement.
The fall-back hope may be that the Dems are denied access to the papers, and can use the denial as a pretext to filibuster. Finally, if the Dems get the papers and they contain nothing damaging to Alito, they may at least provide additional fuel to be used against CAP itself, thus perhaps bolstering the guilt by association meme. In addition, the Dems can ask for delay while they digest the material, during which time perhaps they will think up another bogus line of attack and obstructionist plan.
Not much of a game plan but, as I said, it’s desperation time.
SCOTT adds: David Kirkpatrick’s November 27 New York Times story on the Rusher CAP papers is here.
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