ALITO THREAD….Atrios and Dan Drezner both have basically the same idea: to keep ourselves awake during the Alito hearings, we should be on the lookout for the stupidest and/or most pompous phrase uttered by a United States senator. The winner either gets a prize or gets pleasantly blitzed.

That’s probably OK for today, but I have a different idea for the balance of the hearings: take a drink every time Alito claims he can’t answer a question because it might prejudice his opinion in a future case. There’s only one problem with this game: you won’t just end up drunk, you’ll probably end up lying face down in a gutter dead from alcohol poisoning.

In a remarkable evolution of democracy, we have now entered an era in which candidates for the Supreme Court are allowed to glide through their hearings without once giving a straight answer about anything having to do with the laws or constitution of the United States. After all, Supreme Court justices might conceivably rule on anything in the future. It’s yet another sign that the separation of powers envisioned by the founders has slowly morphed into a de facto parliamentary system ? except without any of the institutional means of accountability normally built into a parliamentary system. Someday Congress is going to regret that.

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