The concept of a "Unitary Presidency" was an important area to pursue, as was Alito's views on the constitutional protections of privacy. But the questions about his failure to recuse himself in the Vanguard matter, and those concerning his membership in a bigoted organization while at Princeton deserved less attention than those matters were afforded once it became clear that they weren't going anywhere.
Conversely, I cannot understand why not one of the Democrats raised the critical issue of separation of church and state! Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room!
Alito should have been asked:
* As a federal appeals court judge, can we assume that you've studied the background writings of the Founders, relative to the "Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment? Especially that of Jefferson and Madison?
* Based upon your presumably studious review of the writings that led to the inclusion of the Establishment Clause in the Bill of Rights, do you believe that the United States of America can legitimately be referred to as a "Christian nation"?
* What do you believe Article VI of the Constitution was intended to mean by the Founders?
* Please explain your understanding of the time-honored tradition of the separation of church and state and how it applies to government activities and private religious interests.
* Do you believe that under the Constitution, congress can pass laws that are rooted in religious dogma or driven by religious motives?
* There are a number of religious leaders who today claim that the United States of America is a "Christian nation." How do you respond to that claim, as a citizen and as a federal judge?
* Among those religious leaders who proclaim that this country is a "Christian nation", there are some who have gone so far as to invent quotes and statements attributed to one or more of the Founders that are intended to support their claim that this is a "Christian nation." What would you say to those people about such deceptive practices?
* Do you believe that the United States can ever be officially declared a "Christian nation"? If not, why not?
* Do you believe that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which, in addition to prohibiting the government from recognizing the establishment of religion (any religion), and guarantees the free exercise of religion among the people, also quarantees that no religious group or individual has the right to impose its religious beliefs on others, even if the those "others" are a small minority?
These questions -- and the entire matter of separation of church and state -- would have been the most important line of questioning that any Senator could have raised...yet there was not a peep about it from any of them, especially the Democrats. Indeed, the issues of abortion, school prayer, religious symbols displayed in public (government buildings or property), same sex marriage, assisted suicide, therapeutic cloning, the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools, and unfettered access to contraception, are all critical "front burner" issues over which religious zealots have declared war on the rest of us.
It should be clear to all but the politically blind, deaf, and dumb, that these religious extremists have a clear agenda; they want to defy the Founders and the Constitution and formally declare this country to be a "Christian nation", substituting "Biblical Law" for constitutional law. And Samuel Alito might well be one of their undercover operatives...wittingly or unwittingly.
Had the Democrats shown the courage to pursue such questions, the country would have seen and heard -- in an unusually public forum widely covered by the media -- the enormous danger we now face as the threat of theofascism continues to emerge in America.