Inside Politics

Mission accomplished

“By pushing a filibuster vote upon their fellow Democrats, John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy have achieved quite a bit already,” Ed Whelan writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Among other things:

“1. Absent the filibuster effort, lots of attention would mistakenly have been focused on whether Judge Alito would reach the filibuster-proof level of 60 votes on final confirmation. If he were to fall short of that, the media would proclaim that the vote level sends a warning shot that another nominee like Alito could be filibustered. By forcing an actual vote on cloture, Kerry and Kennedy have deprived the left of this pretend-filibuster argument. The starting point now for analysis of the politics of any subsequent nomination is that a nominee like Alito can expect to receive more than 70 votes on cloture.

“2. Kerry and Kennedy have turned the wrath of the left against those 19 Democrats (nearly half the caucus) who voted for cloture. …

“3. By using the filibuster weapon against a nominee whom the public rightly recognizes to be superbly qualified, Kerry and Kennedy have undermined Democrats’ future use of that weapon.”

Ginsburg’s religion

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while not at all religious, says she takes pride in her Jewish heritage. And she says that has changed some traditions at the Supreme Court and how she ruled in at least one case involving Christianity.

“Think of how many prominent people in different fields identify themselves proudly as Jews but don’t take part in the rituals,” Justice Ginsburg told AbigailPogrebin, who writes about the jurist in her book “Stars of David.”

An excerpt in the February issue of the Jewish magazine Moment focuses on the author’s interview with Justice Ginsburg in the jurist’s chambers at the Supreme Court.

Although she is not religiously observant, Justice Ginsburg said that being Jewish matters greatly to her.

“I’ll show you one symbol of that which is here,” she told the writer, guiding her to the main office door, where a gold mezuzah was nailed prominently to its frame. “At Christmas around here, every door has a wreath. I received this mezuzah from the Shulamith School for Girls in Brooklyn, and it’s a way of saying, ‘This is my space, and please don’t put a wreath on this door.’”

Justice Ginsburg said she boycotts the annual Red Mass, because of the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion.

“Before every session [of the court], there’s a Red Mass. And the justices get invitations from the cardinal to attend that. And a good number of the justices show up every year. I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion. Even the Scalias — although they’re very much of that persuasion — were embarrassed for me.”

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