Where the Roberts hearings opened with a “history in the making” feel, the Alito hearings are the political equivalent of trench warfare. Battle lines are drawn. Troops are dug in. Both sides are willing to endure the fighting, even though there is little prospect of a change in positions.Cass skewers the Democrats for misunderstanding (or deliberately distorting) the meaning of the concept of "unitary executive." Despite Alito's patient and accurate explanations of the term, they persist in acting as though it refers to the notion of an all-powerful President.
The warfare taking place in the Hart Senate Hearing Room, like real trench war, is mostly a low-key, slow moving affair, punctuated by occasional bursts of bombast. It resembles trench warfare, too, in its air of embedded hostility and immovable forces lobbing cannonades at one another. The nominee is almost an afterthought.
Perhaps when Senators stop making accusations and speeches, aimed more at interest groups and the media than the nominee himself, confirmations will return to hearings instead of battles.