After my own alarm goes off at 6:00 am, and I have unconsciously turned it off, I am usually roused by my wife’s clock radio turning on at 6:20. She keeps it set to NPR, and there’s something about hearing ‘Morning Edition’ that keeps me from going back to sleep.

Except that this week, every morning the radio has been broadcasting the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings instead, and the constant droning and whining of those proceedings has not only failed to wake me up, it has if anything driven me deeper into dreamless sleep.

Yes, you heard me correctly: Samuel Alito is personally responsible for my oversleeping all this week. But I digress.

I don’t even know why they have confirmation hearings anymore. While they may have had at one time a noble purpose, the entire process has devolved into a two ring circus, lumbering elephants in one ring, braying donkeys in the other.

To be fair, I suppose it is possible that there was some real revelatory discussion at some point in the hearings. I have a friend who has been glued to his radio, analyzing and dissecting each verbal jab and riposte. But I find it highly unlikely that the only crap moments in the entire process happened to occur during the 2.6 percent of the time that I happen to be listening.

No, the confirmation hearings are a joke, and this is why:

REP. SEN.: Judge Alito, this committee is indeed honored by your presence. You represent a living example of the finest traditions of jurisprudence. Your shining record inspires future generations of attorneys and judges, and you have elevated the entire human race by virtue of your birth.

ALITO: Thank you, Senator.

REP. SEN.: Now, before I hand over the floor to my colleague, I am obligated to ask one of the more difficult questions it has been my duty to put forth: Can you tell me, in advance, precisely how you would vote on a Supreme Court case that involves abortion in any way?

ALITO: Well, under the principle of stare decisis

REP. SEN.: Of course! Stare decisis, I would expect no less eloquent an answer from a jurist of your stature, and I cannot comprehend how my esteemed democratic colleagues utterly fail to grasp the compelling power of your analysis. Thank you, sir. I reluctantly hand over the floor to the democratic senator.

DEM. SEN.: Thank you. Now ‘Judge’ Alito, it has been revealed that in your attempt to curry favor with the Reagan Administration, you listed among your proudest accomplishments your membership in the misogynistic, xenophobic, and bigoted group the “Concerned Alumni of Princeton”. I think this committee would like to know, sir, while you were attending Princeton, where did you wash your Klan sheets?


DEM. SEN.: We can only presume that such a prestigious alumni organization would demand only sparkling white hoods and robes for their meetings. So, did you use a laundromat? Or were you able to find a Chinese laundry?

ALITO: I’m sorry, senator. I have no recollection of attended this ‘Prints-Dunne’ college of which you speak.

DEM. SEN.: Are you actually denying that you are a Princeton alumnus?

ALITO: I have a dim recollection of attending college somewhere in the northeast, but I regret that I really have no specific memory of the university to which you are referring.

And so on. I can’t stand to listen to it for more than 5 minutes at a time.

You would think that when given the opportunity to fill a position of such importance to our country, both political parties would put aside their differences and attempt to find the best qualified person, regardless of ideology, to put on our nation’s highest court.

Silly me.