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Special Report

What Do Opening Statements Mean for Judge Alito's Confirmation?

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from Jan. 9, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

BRIT HUME, HOST: I’m joined now by FOX News correspondent Megyn Kendall who watched Monday’s proceedings with an attentive ear. Megyn, what are your reflections on first what you heard from Democrats?

MEGYN KENDALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Brit. One of the themes you saw coming out of the Democrats was Justice O’Connor. She is very much indeed the Democrats’ favor Republican appointee. And it was interesting to me that they sort of held Alito to a higher standard. They informed him that they will, because she is the typical swing vote on the high court and they want him to satisfy them that he will not shift the balance of the court.

Now, whether that is as the Democrats claimed his burden of proof or not, but that is a theme that is definitely emerging.

HUME: So, they are saying there is a new standard that applies to him because of the justice whom he is replacing that wouldn’t necessarily apply to Roberts or perhaps not to some other justice who would replace some other conservative. That he must establish to their satisfaction that he would maintain the current ideological balance on the court?

KENDALL: Right. Who you will certainly hear from Alito’s defenders has never been the standard with respect to other Supreme Court nominees.

HUME: And from the Republicans, what did you pick up?

KENDALL: Well, I think the Republicans sort of tried to rehabilitate Alito on some of the attacks that are going to be coming from the Democrats, like they are already talking about how the role of an advocate is different than the role of a judge. And you will hear Tuesday when the questioning begins about Alito’s memos that he wrote when he worked as an advocate in the Reagan administration. So, already, they are sort of trying to draw a line between those two things.

HUME: The key issue there will be opinions he has expressed about abortion.

KENDALL: Abortion, executive power, and the so-called little guy. The Democrats also talked a lot about the little guy. What are they talking about, race cases, sex discrimination cases, employee cases. They think Samuel Alito has come out consistently against the so-called little guy in those cases. You saw Republicans sort of saying, the little guy doesn’t deserve to win in every case.

HUME: Now, what about Alito himself? We really have heard almost nothing except pleasantries in his meetings with senators and the statement he made at the time of his nomination. This was the first moment he had to say almost anything about himself. What did you take away from it?

KENDALL: I thought it was interesting he was a little bit less confident seeming than Chief Justice John Roberts. But that was a tough act to follow. But I thought, overall he seemed humble.

HUME: No notes.

KENDALL: No notes, he picked up on that little guy theme. It was as if he knew that this was going to be a principle area of attack much more so than the rest of us, because his whole first half of his opening statement was devoted to, in essence, I’m the little guy. I grew up in an unpretentious neighborhood. And back in the day I never would have gotten into Princeton and when I got there I was amazed at what kind of a life this was. I think he is sort of setting the stage to say I’m not the person who doesn’t relate to the little guy, I am the little guy.

HUME: All right. Megyn, see you Tuesday.

Watch "Special Report With Brit Hume" weeknights at 6 p.m. EST.

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