Attorney General and Supreme Court nominee Alexandra West faced a tough crowd at her confirmation with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
The committee is comprised of the following members:
- Hanley Trent (Liberty-D12), Chairman
- Valère Descoteaux (Liberty-D14)
- Sophia Delacruz (Liberty-D5)
- Jacob Ellsworth (Liberty-D3)
- Iris Canstrom (Labor-D9), Ranking Opposition Member
- Patrick Newsom (Civic-D3)
- Clark Randall (Centre-D9)
During the hearing, West was spared no verbal punches by the opposition, nor did her own party go easy on her. It is the first time in Panem’s history that a former Senate Judiciary member testified before the committee during confirmation proceedings.
Iris Canstrom, ranking member from the Red-Green Coalition, very openly attacked West for her previous time in the Senate along with her record as Attorney General. “Considering that you have made your career around controversial legal cases, some of which are ongoing, will you be able to rule impartially on cases that you feel strongly about or that you currently oversee at the Justice Department? Furthermore, in the latter case, would you seek recusal from such decisions as it would be nothing short of a massive conflict of interest?”
West responded sharply, as is characteristic of her. “I believe that Justice Thompson said this in her confirmation hearing, and I will say it again as it applies here: Everyone has a political bias. The issue lies with those who govern on that bias. If I feel strongly over a case, I will seek to familiarize myself with the case and its details. I will seek the truth of the matter. I will listen to both sides of the argument, as both sides matter in any legal matter. Regardless of what you believe of me, Senator, I am in charge of upholding the law. That does not mean that I am a partisan hack. It does not mean that I prosecute people for political purposes or because I’m a mean, bad person. I am simply making my decisions based on an impartial consideration of the facts and the law, which is exactly what a justice does. As for cases that I previously presided over as Attorney General, it matters in regards to degree of familiarity with the case. Should I have been directly involved, I would recuse myself. However, if it were something that my employees handled that I simply presided over, I may not need to.”
Senator Randall, a new addition to the committee and a well-known swing vote, noted that former President Rick Canth was appealing his conviction in a federal appeals court at the time of the hearing. “Ms. West, would you recuse yourself from this case, considering your previous involvement with the joint select committee that investigated the Canth administration that eventually led to his impeachment and conviction?”
West noted that while she served on the Senate side of that committee, “I did not have direct involvement with his impeachment. I served as a member of the body that was forced to make that horrid decision, but at the time of the convening of that committee, based on what we knew, we found no wrongdoing by the President. So, no, I believe there is not a legitimate cause for recusal in that circumstance.”
Senator Ellsworth, the junior-most Liberty senator on the committee, pressed West on her credentials. “Ms. West, I understand that you have spent the last three years of your life as the chief law enforcement officer in the nation of Panem. I understand that before you entered politics, you were a very successful trial attorney. However, as anyone could contest, serving as an attorney does not necessarily mean that you are qualified to be on the Supreme Court. How can you assuage our concerns over a perceived lack of experience, considering as the last two nominees for the Court were previously judges?”
West replied, “Prior to the creation of the Supreme Court, not one of the future justices served as any judge. Under Snow, no fair judges were appointed. As such, every one of the seven justices, which was further expanded to eleven, had served as a judge in any formal capacity. This includes Justice Lowell. While he was a fantastic attorney, he had no judicial experience. And yet, over 21 years, he proved that judicial experience is not necessarily required. What is required is a sound legal mind, which I promise I can provide. While I may not have had the honor to have served on a bench as of yet, that should not disqualify me as there is longstanding precedent in Panem’s history that some of our best judges have had no judicial experience at all.”
Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Judiciary Committee voted to recommend Alexandra West to the full Senate for a complete vote. The committee vote tally is below.
Voting aye: Delacruz (Liberty-D5), Descoteaux (Liberty-D14), Ellsworth (Liberty-D3), Randall (Centre-D9), Trent (Liberty-D12)
Voting nay: Canstrom (Labor-D9), Newsom (Civic-D3)