From Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
There are, it seems, better and worse ways to game your Supreme Court confirmation hearings. John Roberts charmed his way through the proceedings. Sam Alito has chosen to simply bore his way through, and as a consequence, two days into the hearings, the Democrats on the judiciary committee have hardly laid a glove on him. I count only three occasions today on which he refuses to answer a question; that's not going to be his way. His way is to drill down and answer in lengthy doctrinal detail; to justify his past decisions with technical legal analysis; to expound upon three-part tests and legal factors to be balanced. He never tells you the answer to the question, but he's always expansive on how he might get there.
There are some tangible benefits to this approach: For one thing, Alito has thus far generated not one flash of heat. There has been no clash, no argument, no losing of his temper. He is like a very, very smart rock. And this stoniness is slowly wearing down his opposition. While Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., generates a wisp of tension with this morning's inquiry into the judge's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton, by the time Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., has finished his questions about executive power, any appearance of fire or passion is gone from both the nominee and the senator. Alito is crushing the Democrats with unrelenting tedium and a demonstrable love for material they don't really understand.