At the time of this post, Senator Feingold is conducting what for me has been the most substantive inquiry of the session. Feingold is a skilled questioner and has a serious but respectful demeanor. Alito is responding in a calm, candid and well reasoned fashion.
Nonetheless, Feingold was able to make the recusal issue an important one, not because the witness did anything unethical, but because he testified in his Circuit Court hearing that he would recuse if Vanguard was involved and did not do so.
While I do not think this rises to the level of a "extraordinary circumstance", it will give cover to at least some folks who want to vote no to do so.
That this struck some nerves was emphasized when Senator Hatch asked for 2 minutes out of order for some rehabilitative questions. As a trial lawyer, I do not think I would have done what Senator Hatch did, because it called attention to the fact that Feingold made a good point.
But for this little flap the hearing for Judge Alito has gone pretty well. He has politely, articulately, carefully, substantively and respectfully answered questions asked him.
He is passing my 5 a**h**** rule, and I believe he will be confirmed.
And he should be.