Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The First Bombshell
READY, SET, GO. The expected series of grisly and damaging revelations about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito began today with this headline in the Los Angeles Times:
A Phillies Fan With Blue-Chip Legal Stats
The text of the article goes on to quote Alito thus:
"My real ambition at the time was to be the commissioner of baseball," said Alito, an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Phillies. "I never dreamed that this day would actually arrive."
Senior Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Comittee were quick to respond. Senators Edward Kennedy (MA) and Patrick Leahy (VT) held a joint press conference in which they read the following statement:
We are gravely disappointed to learn that the Bush administration's nominee is so far out of the mainstream of American baseball allegiances. And we are alarmed on two points. First, the millions of fans of America's most popular team, the Boston Red Sox, cannot help but feel marginalized by Judge Alito's eccentric membership in what can only be described as a splinter minority of sports affiliations. How can such a candidate possibly hope to represent the dreams and aspirations of the majority of Americans when he persists in allying himself with one of the oldest and least admirable franchises in the history of America's pastime? Second, his ambition to be commissioner of baseball suggests a sinister intention to hijack the game from the followers of contemporary mainstream franchises and turn the clock back to a time when there were only a handful of major league teams, all exclusively white and mostly redneck. We believe this represents a compelling reason to reject the nomination of Judge Scalito, and we urge our fellow Americans to protest the President's irresponsible selection.
Senator Charles Schumer also issued a statement from his home in New York:
This terrible stain on Judge Alito's record is a dagger in the heart of the millions of Yankee fans who make up the majority of the nation's baseball loyalists. The candidate has been unmasked as a partisan of a radical fringe minority. It could hardly be worse if he announced that he had season tickets to that other contemptible red-city team, the Texas Rangers. This nomination cannot be permitted to stand.
Senator Arlen Specter (PA) objected to the characterization of Phillies fans as a fringe minority, citing national polls which demonstrate that 70 percent of those who follow major league baseball have heard of the Phillies. "This is a team that in its 120 years of All-American history has won a World Series, among other accomplishments," said Specter. "To this day, the team has avid fans located as far east as New Jersey, as far south as Delaware, and as far west as just east of Harrisburg. That takes in a lot of American territory and a lot of Americans, both Democrat and Republican."
However, Republican Senators Mike DeWine (OH), John Cornyn (TX), and John Kyl (AZ) were more cautious in their responses to the revelation, agreeing that Alito's affiliation with the Phillies would be a legitimate subject for questioning by the judiciary committee. "It's distressing but not necessarily fatal that Judge Alito appears to be out of touch with the majority American preference for illustrious franchises like the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians," said deWine, "but just because the Phillies are the biggest losers in the whole history of baseball, bar none, does not make Alito a loser. Not necessarily. Not completely, anyway."
Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware could not be reached for comment.
Separately, Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) blasted Alito's association with the Phillies, declaring that it "indicates a juvenile, racist, and male chauvinist strain of character that a grown man continues to obsess over a boy's playground game that has historically discriminated against African-Americans and excluded women entirely. This is not only inconsistent with the judicial temperament the American people demand of Supreme Court nominees, but representative of the profound evil that the the Bush administration always does. Or is. Whatever. You know what I mean."
It's getting ugly early, ain't it?