A couple of things have become clear from the Alito hearings. First, the Democrats cannot stop the nomination from going forward. Just as with Chief Justice Roberts hearings, they have no argument against Alito. And, Alito has been able to show the world that he is a very smart guy, and has given the Chief a run for his money. So the deed is done. Good for Bush, good for the country, good for the Constitution. Which brings me to my second point.
The Democrats have revealed (once again) that all they care about is the abortion issue, and what they call a womans right to choose, or, so called privacy. And this is a problem for them. A big problem. While the Republicans--including their nominees to federal courts--can talk about upholding the Constitution, interpreting it according to the original intent of the framers, the difference between legislating and judging, and so on, the Democrats are relegated to talking about the necessity of upholding precedent (read, saving Roe v. Wade). You must admit that this is a little weird considering that they have poured what intellectual capital they had since the Progressive Era into something called "the living Constitution" (read, interpreting the thing as you please). They really cant allow a Republican dominated Supreme Court to agree that the Constitution is a living, breathing, changing thing now can they? The Democrats are in a bind for sure and the political effects are that these hearings do not give them the opportunity to put forward their view of how to interpret the Constitution, or what the real work of the Supreme Court should be. In fact, all they can do (read, Kennedy) is bark and bray and howl and distort and make good wives cry. I bet they are praying (read, hoping) that there are no other retirements from the Court because the same thing will happen.