In addition to sound bites from the Judiciary Committee's interrogation of Samuel Alito, I listened to some of Minnesota Public Radio's live coverage of this, um, event.
Unlike several other senators, Russ Feingold did not, in my opinion, see this as an opportunity to grandstand for the media. I thought his questions were to the point, appropriately framed, and respectfully delivered. I continue to proud to be one of his constituents.
Alito's replies suggested a man concerned more with the soundness of judicial process than of alignment with predetermined outcomes. I believe his responses showed more openness than Justice Roberts' did. I was a little disappointed that he did not show more bravery to defuse the CAP flap, but since Senator Kennedy's minions were unable to produce CAP-specific dirt that would stick to Alito, this appears to be a relatively small amount of water, and long under the bridge.
Given the present administration's focus on predetermined outcomes, with contrived, cherry-picked, after-the-fact justification (other than "9/11"), my guess is that Justice Alito is probably as sound an appointee as we are likely to get from President Bush. Therefore, I wrote to Senator Feingold to vote for Justice Alito's confirmation -- unless he is aware of a better (and politically feasible) potential appointee.
My belief is that a careful and process-oriented Justice (regardless of location on the left-right spectrum) is preferable to an outcome-oriented one carrying a political agenda. Once the robes are on, a Justice is no longer beholden to the President.