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Brownback on Alito

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Nomination hearings for Samuel Alito begin this morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Sen. Sam Brownback will be participating.On Sunday, Brownback appeared on ABC's "This Week," to talk about Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. [The Washington Post][1] has a transcript of the interview with George Stephanopoulos:STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you heard one of the issues, though, that Senator Kennedy raised there, that famous 1985 job application where Judge Alito said that he doesn't believe that the Constitution protects a right to an abortion.And according to Senator Kennedy and other Democrats, when he was asked about that in these private meetings, he said -- basically he distanced himself and said, That's just a job application.What do you expect Judge Alito to say when he's asked about that? And we know Senator Specter is going to ask about it first thing on Tuesday.BROWNBACK: Well, and it should be asked about. And by the way, you know, you can look at how things change. You did a clip of Senator Kennedy about 20 years ago, and that was a great looking jacket that he had on 20 years ago.STEPHANOPOULOS: Summer jacket.BROWNBACK: Yes, it was a summer jacket. That's true.Things do change, and positions change. He's advocating for a position in a conservative administration at that time -- in an administration. Now he's going on the Supreme Court of the United States if approved by the United States Senate.And these are different jobs altogether, and they have different parameters with them all together. And he's not going to answer questions about how he's going to rule on a Roe-type case, and he shouldn't.STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me stop you there. That wasn't a matter of personal opinion. He was expressing his belief, his constitutional interpretation. Why should someone who is going to sit on the Supreme Court not have to answer what his interpretation of the Constitution is? I mean, that was a very straight statement.BROWNBACK: Well, because these are very active cases that will be in front of him. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she's general counsel for the ACLU at one point in time. And does she go back to her positions she took then to say, This is how I will decide a case on the Supreme Court ? That's just not the way the system works, nor is it, because then you've got people on the bench that have predecided the case. And that's not where you get fair justice on the facts and the law, both involved in each of these cases.We should determine about judicial philosophy and issues of judicial restraint and views toward the overall look of the Constitution, which I think are fully appropriate. And we need to look at the 15 years of written opinions he's got out there.[Brownback also repeated his concerns][2] about the Bush Administration's use of warrantless wiretaps, saying he didn't believe Congress had given the president such authority. And he again pledged [to donate more than $40,000 in contributions][3] from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to charity.Other links today:Pat Roberts links[(Washington Times commentary) The wiretap hearings:][4] What will the coming National Security Agency wiretap hearings reveal and how will they affect U.S. surveillance of al Qaeda? Much depends on whether they are held in Sen. Arlen Specter's Judiciary Committee or in Sen. Pat Roberts' Intelligence Committee. ... Quiet and high-stakes negotiations are currently occurring between Mr. Specter on the one hand -- who threw down the gauntlet last month by promising to hold them in the Judiciary Committee -- and Mr. Roberts and the Senate leadership on the other. Opinion in the Republican leadership strongly favors Mr. Roberts, whose committee, according to one highly placed Republican Senate source, is rightly viewed as "geared toward discretion."[(Kansas City Star) Roberts irritated by accounts of snooping:][5] The continuing focus on a controversial federal eavesdropping program could "endanger American lives," Sen. Pat Roberts said Friday. "What I'm worried about is the al-Qaida reading all of these press accounts as a cascade of further stories and speculation come out, and we lose the capability (of NSA communication intercepts)," said the Intelligence Committee chairman, who has been regularly briefed on the programTodd Tiahrt links[(The Hill) Tiahrt expected to run for whip:][6] Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) is expected to announce that he will run for majority whip Monday, making him the fourth candidate in the race for a job that has yet to become open. Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), and Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) have declared their candidacies for the post. The whip's position will open only if lawmakers reject current Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) as majority leader and he decides to relinquish his position as whip or the conference decides to have a separate open leadership election for the whip job.How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][7] [1]: http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/campaignforthecourt/2006/01/brownback_on_al.html [2]: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0601090162jan09,1,2183325.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed [3]: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/08/politics/08cnd-policy.html?hp&ex=1136782800&en=6871fae4e61d2c49&ei=5094&partner=homepage [4]: http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20060105-093709-4925r.htm [5]: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascitystar/news/politics/13569206.htm [6]: http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/010406/tiahrt.html [7]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

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