This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," January 24, 2006, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, this confirmation process, regardless of your position on abortion, goes on and on and on and on. And now the earliest we will get a final vote on Alito, maybe the end of the week, some predicting it could drag out until next Tuesday, the day the president delivers his State of the Union address.
So, what if companies operated like this?
Steve Forbes, the president and CEO of Forbes Inc., he never goes on and on and on.
Steve, what do you make of that, the views on abortion? I was saying there, I think the judge was wise just to look at the process. And the process seems to say, it's a long process. Why is that?
STEVE FORBES, CEO, FORBES INC.: Well, it's a long process simply because judges now, especially in the Supreme Court, make decisions that normally would be made by legislatures.
So, this takes on huge importance, when they have these enormous legislative powers, because they aren't just there for a two-year or four-year term. They're there for perhaps decades. So, in an issue like this, the Democrats, especially the liberals, don't want this guy to go on. And they just hope, between now and early next week, something will come up that will derail the nomination, because the stakes are so huge.
CAVUTO: But would Republicans be guilty of doing the same thing?
Let's say a Democrat takes over the White House after 2008. Will Republicans then remember this and say, you know what, we are going to drag your nominees through the mud as well, and on and on and on we go, where I think Alito was chosen, a little after Halloween, and, yet, this charade continued, even through now.
And let's say you had a conservative, alleged conservative, on the Supreme Court replaced, nominated by a liberal, perceived liberal. You would have the same kind of knockdown, drag-down fight. I don't think you would have the personal smears, but I think the stakes are so huge, that it would be a long, protracted fight.
And this gets to the whole thing, Neil, of why is the Supreme Court now vested by precedent over the last couple of decades, three decades, with these enormous powers that normally would be in the hands of legislatures? So, if you lost one election cycle, hey, you can fight another election cycle.
But when you have legislators, in effect, elected for life, you are going to have these ferocious fights.
CAVUTO: Indeed. And we have seen a more active judicial branch.
But, even allowing for that, is there a better way for this process -- I'm not taking anything against this network's, you know, 24/7 coverage of these hearings.
CAVUTO: But I'm wondering. There has got to be a simpler, clearer way, and a faster way to get a judge before a committee, approved by that committee, to the full Senate, and be done with it.
And I think what has dragged this out is the threat of a filibuster. That is a very new thing in the last three or four years, having filibusters, not only for Supreme Court justices, but for appellate justices, judges, as well. That is unprecedented. So, it's going to be a long, dragged-out process.
If you had an up-and-down vote, hearings would be much faster. And I hope we get back to it.
Another reform that I think is going to be seriously considered in the next few years, Neil, is really term limits for justices, say 18 years, instead of a lifetime, so that I think that will take some of the acidity and viciousness out of these fights. If you know the guy is going to be on not forever, but for a fixed term, I think that would be a step in the right direction as well.
CAVUTO: So, fixed terms for Supreme Court justices, you're saying?
FORBES: Yes, 15 years, 18 years, enough for them to make a difference, so they overlap several presidential administrations.
But, again, if you know somebody like Alito is going to be on, and you don't like him, for 30-or-some-odd years, you are going to fight the thing tooth and nail. If you know it's a fixed term, hey, your time is going to come when the next election cycle changes.
CAVUTO: But, in the meantime, get used to very narrow party-line votes for as long as we can expect?
FORBES: Until there's a new consensus, Neil, yes.
FORBES: When you have sharp issues, expect sharp fights.
CAVUTO: OK, Steve Forbes, thank you very much, my friend.
FORBES: Thank you.
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