Sideline on Ted Kennedy on Alito
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Todd Zywicki suggests that Kennedy's questioning of Alito regarding Concerned Alumni of Princeton resembles McCarthy's attempts at guilt by association.
There's another parallel. Kennedy argues the committee must subpoena the papers of William Rusher, who was prominent in the group, from the Library of Congress:
"And I asked Senator Specter make a formal committee request for the documents in the possession of the Library of Congress as part of the William Rusher papers. Mr. Rusher was the publisher of the National Review, was an active founder and leader of CAP.
Do you have any hesitancy or reason for us not to look at those documents?"
Kennedy then gets into an argument with Chairman Spector over whether he can get a committee vote to issue the subpoena, "my request is that we go into the executive session for the sole purpose of voting on a subpoena for these records that are held over at the Library of Congress — that purpose and that purpose only.
And if I’m going to be denied that, I’d want to give notice to the chair that you’re going to hear it again and again and again and we’re going to have votes of this committee again and again and again until we have a resolution."
Later: "I wonder what these papers contain, and what the Republicans do not want us to see. Why they want to just, uh, rush this nominee through.”
Nice bit of grandstanding. A five minute Google search turned up the index to the William Rusher Papers at the Library of Congress. The index notes things like "The microfilm in these papers was produced by the office of the National
Review and is included in the collection as its own series. It is available for research use in the Manuscript Reading Room." There's also over two hundred boxes of hardcopy.
The only restrictions I can find on access pertain to his personal diaries, which cannot be released until 50 yrs after his death.
So it looks as if Senator Kennedy need only walk across the street to the LoC and take a look.
[UPDATE: I guess they figured it out. Bench Memosis reporting that Senate Judiciary Committee staffers reviewed the relevant portion of the Rusher papers at the LoC and found not even a mention of Alito, and that the New York Times reviewed them two months ago and couldn't find anything either. Not much basis for Kennedy's grandstanding over needing a subpoena to get at those secret files].